Feeding: It’s all about the when, why, how and what
The winner of the 2019 Bay of Plenty Dairy Manager of the Year competition, Janamjot Singh Ghuman, focuses heavily on the technicalities of feed and feeding.
“It’s something I enjoy and I am really interested in studying how feed relates to energy output. Different feeds give different results.
“It’s about knowing the when, why and how of what you’re feeding and I do a lot of research in this area,” he says.
It’s no surprise then that he took out the Feed Management Award at the competition along with the Power Play Award for his talk on technology and how that might influence the farming sector going forward.
Janamjot is currently finishing his first season as farm manager for Rex and Lesley Brown on their 65ha Te Puke farm, milking 280 cows.
It is a system five farm and has a feed pad, which is essential in wet weather to protect pastures as the farm often floods.
Pastures are also protected during wet weather via ‘sacrifice’ paddocks and careful management in the winter time. Janamjot favours supplementing with vegetables, especially pumpkin in summer.
“They are high in starch and energy and very digestible. At that time of the year we are low on starch as grass growth is not good.”
He also uses dried distillers grain when cows start to calve and in September to assist the peak milk period.
Tapicoa is used in autumn when cows are being dried off due to high starch content (90%) and digestibility.
In autumn and winter, he feeds straw to fill the cows up.
Janamjot came from a farming back-ground in India where his parents have a cropping farm.
He came to New Zealand to study and holds a Diploma in Applied Technology from the Wairakai Institute of Technology and Primary ITO National Certificates in Agriculture Level 4 and 5.
He is very interested in how technology can be applied to the farming sector.
The Browns’ farm has automatic cup removers a wash system and uses TracMap to send data to fertiliser companies so they know exactly where to spread.
The farm has just signed up for LIC’s SPACE (Satellite Pasture and Cover Evaluation) service where detailed pasture data, from images taken by satellites, is emailed directly to the farm.
A current area identified for improvement is the effluent system and a variety of options are being looked at.
At present effluent is spread via a travelling irrigator and Janamjot spreads by tractor over harder to reach areas of the farm so that the entire platform benefits.
The farm employs one full time staff member.
The farm owners don’t live on the farm but they do help out as required at busy times of the season.
This season the farm will produce around 142,000 kilograms of milk solids.
Janamjot says he is someone who enjoys challenges, which was one reason he entered the Dairy Industry Awards.
He was pleasantly surprised to do so well and his aim is to obtain residency and hopefully one day own a farm of his own.
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