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Agri Tips

General Farm Hygiene:

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Good farm hygiene is the responsibility of all the staff on the farm, make sure that all employees know the farms bio security policy and explain the policy to all visitors. It is necessary to draw up a written Bio security plan for your holding:

    • Operate a foot dip policy between farms, buildings and ensure disinfecting facilities are available for consultants, veterinary surgeons and other visitors.
    • Insist that all staff and visitors use foot dips. Put up signpost if necessary.
    • Keep the milking parlour and associated facilities clean and hygienic at all times.
    • Clean and disinfect buildings after each batch of stock, especially after a disease outbreak.
    • Clean and disinfect vehicles and trailers after transporting stock - however short the journey may be.
    • Wear clean overalls and footwear each day if at all possible.
    • Park visitors vehicle out side the premise. Avoid unnecessary visitors to the farm.

Feed Storage Facilities:

    • Poor feed facilities encourage birds and vermin, which can and do spread disease.
    • Keep feeding stuffs dry and clean.
    • Rotate stocks to ensure that the oldest deliveries are used first.
    • Dispose of old or contaminated feed carefully and securely.
    • Clean out feed bins, water troughs regularly (wash out and disinfect)
    • Ensure no livestock have access to feed storage facilities.
    • Ensure clean water supply. If necessary test bore hole or well water before allowing its use.
    • Fence of ponds and boggy areas.
    • Clean out and disinfect feed troughs and feeding stances on a regular basis, remove rejected feed and dispose of responsibly.

Keep Stock Apart:

    • Eliminate contact with neighbouring farms and holdings, using good fences and secure gates.
    • Ensure you have isolation facility available (to keep sick animals) and that these are easy to clean and hygienic.
    • Isolate all newly brought in stock, know the signs of diseases and look out for them. Run these animals through a footbath and de-worm and vaccinate where required as per guidance of your veterinarian.
    • In the milk parlours, Milk isolated diseased animals at the last and disinfect the place after use.
    • Morning observation of each animal is must and isolates sick and diseased animals as soon as possible before being treated by vet.

Waste Management:

    • Disease causing agents can survive in slurry and farmyard manure, ensuring these products are stored before sale or use in a responsible manner can go some way to prevent disease spread.
    • If you are using the produced farm manure / slurry, store them for at least 4 months before application if at all possible.

Vermin & Rodent Control:

    • Ensure you have adequate rodent control facility.
    • Keep animals and birds away from feed stores.
    • Dispose of all feed waste in a secure and responsible manner.
    • Keep buildings in good repair so that birds and vermin cannot gain access.

Keep door and windows shut and secure when not needed for ventilation. Use plastic or wire mesh on windows that need to be left open.

Additional Notes:

Handling of Dead Animals

When an animal is found dead, particularly one for which no definite diagnosis of disease has been made, extreme caution must be taken. Improper handling may result in the spread of the infectious organism to other animals or to persons handling the carcass. It is useful to ascertain the cause of the death and keep records. Take help of diagnostic laboratories where available. Your vet will guide you about the facilities in your locality. Except in instances where certain diseases such as black quarter or anthrax are suspected, your Vet will carry out a post mortem examination of the carcass. Note that such examination is always beneficial. Do cooperate with your vet. Disposal of a carcass will depend on the reason for death. Under no circumstances, the meat should be allowed for human consumption. The carcass should be deeply buried after being covered with lime. If needed, visit local veterinary establishment and seek their guidance for disposal.

Constructing a Foot Bath for visitors and employees
The provision of footbath should not only be made at the entrance of each byre, but it should be made at the main entrance of the farm too. The length of the footbath should be according to the width of the entrance and breadth should be around 2 feet. It should be made of concrete of about 3 inches deep. The solution for the footbath may be of potassium permanganate (1: 1000 strength) or formalin (5%).

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Performance Monitoring in a Dairy Farm

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Some Points:

  • Minimum 30% of animals in production should be of first lactation.
  • First lactation animals should produce at lease 70% of Milk in the farm in any given time.
  • Individual cows should have at least 280 days lactation period.
  • Minimum 60% of the cows in the herd should breed within 60-90 days after previous calving.     Cows breeding after 140 days or more should not be in any case more than 5 %.
  • There should not be a single death due to contagious diseases.
  • Calf mortality up to 6 months of age should not be more than 5% per year.
  • Non functional teat should not be more then 1% of the total 
    ( Total teats = Number of cows x 4 )
  • Total cost on feed should not exceed 70% of net income through sale of milk.
  • At any given time, Seventy percent (70%) of animals should be in milk where as 20% should be dry pregnant and 10% should be dry empty.
  • On any given day , average days in milk ( of all animals in milk ) should be 150 to 160 days : On any day , count the number of days ( respect to each animal) in milk from date of calving and take the average for all the animals in milk )
  • Sixty percent (60 %) of the animals should breed upon first insemination (A I) it self.

Some Tips:

  • Every year try to improve the daily average milk yield by 15 to 20% ( Achievable only through good management )
  • Use semen of those bulls which can give progenies with at least 1.5 times of potential of milk production than your herd average, but in any case it should not have the capability of giving progenies with more than twice the potential of milk production. ( e.g. if your herd average is 3000 liters per lactation , use bulls having potential of giving progenies with 4500 to 5500 liter herd average  NOT bulls having potential of producing progenies giving 6500 liters or above )
  • Give incentive to the labors for correct detection of heat (estrous), Good growth rate of calves, feed and fodder saved etc.
  • Cull non-profitable animal e.g. Animals with breeding problem, Animals producing not up to the average. Every year cull 20-30% of animals from the herd and replace them from own grown young stock. Do not cull animals if you do not get better replacement. A regular breeder can be retained even if it is producing 20% less then herd average.
  • If animals are required to be purchased for replacement :
    • Purchase them from within 20 –25 kms area.
    • Know their Sire 
      Take utmost care that they are health

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