Sébastien Turban

Dairy cow farm cooperative Le Vieux Manoir,
in Pommerit-Le-Vicomte (22)

• 180 DCs
• 1,700,000 L to be produced

“150,000 L more milk with the same size of herd”

More ENERGY around calving

Le Vieux Manoir cooperative’s herd is farmed under a zero-grazing system, with just 1.5 hectares accessible to 160 DCs. It is divided into two batches: one is milked using a robotic system, the other in a milking room. One year ago, before seeking Vitalac’s advice, the farm had a rolling average over 12 months of 9500 kg of milk.

“Our objective was to increase the milk per cow rate, because our building was at saturation point and we had more milk to produce,” explains Sébastien Turban.

Among the changes suggested by Philippe Arzul from Vitalac to meet this objective, the first concerned how the herd was managed: “When the herd increases in number, it’s preferable to use a batch of primiparas, rather than a batch in early lactation,” he explains. “Separating the animals according to their level of production causes stress due to the change of batch and ration… It always harms feed efficiency.” Le Vieux Manoir cooperative therefore now milks all primiparas with a robotic system (70% of this batch); the heifers now start at 38 kg, as opposed to 29 previously! (see table below).

A readjusted ration

Among the changes introduced in terms of feed is the addition of 300 g of protected fat to bolster energy intake, and the use of delayed urea (urea coated with fat for slow release in the rumen). Vitacarte, which was incorporated into the ration, contains a HP mineral, Rumenstimul (a cocktail of clays, live yeasts and enzymes which improves ruminal efficiency) and a mycotoxin binder. “Here, we work the land under a no-till farming system and with wheat/maize rotation, which increases the risk of fusarium,” explains Jean-François Turban. Indeed, the two analyses conducted on maize silage confirmed significant levels of contamination with mycotoxins originating in the field (DON, Zearalenone et Trichothecene A), having an impact on the herd’s fertility, health and feed efficiency. In the robotic system, Glycoline (glucose precursors based on monopropylene glycol) is distributed at a rate of 300 mL/DC for the first month of lactation. The farmers note that cows which have recently calved are more energetic and have a greater appetite.

Improved reproduction

“We have produced our full allocation of milk, and the financial results are positive,” the cooperative’s partners acknowledge. In one year, feed efficiency increased from 1.2 kg of milk / kg of DM intake to 1.5! “The feed investment we made has been easily offset by the extra milk delivered.” And the repro results are also significantly up, with a success rate at first AI of well above 50%,” adds Sébastien Turban.

Readjustment of the dry cow ration and addition of Glycoline two weeks before calving greatly contributed to the improvement in results.

Dry cows

Better preparation for calving 

The improvement in results is due in part to the new approach to dry cow management. Good maintenance of lactation persistence means that cows can be dried off in good condition (not too fat) for a period of 50 days. The feed is composed of rationed silage maize, rapeseed cakes (negative anion-cation balance), ground straw (as fine as possible!) and Vitacarte Biocell Tarie 3500 (mineral and mycotoxin binders). Cows at the end of gestation (2 weeks before calving) receive 1 kg of production feed and 150 mL of extra Glycoline in their ration to bolster energy intake over this period, during which appetite and intake capacity have a tendency to diminish. Before introducing this ration, the farmers were encountering lots of non-deliveries and treating cases of metritis in close to 50% of cows. These pathologies have now returned to a normal level (<10%).