Many interesting facts and figures were thrown up at Strabane Agricultural School last week when an open day demonstration attracted a good crowd despite the severe weather conditions.
The demonstration featured winter feeding of dairy cows, cattle fattening, calf rearing and inwintering of ewes.
During the last financial year the 34 dairy cows with an average yield of 1,049 gallons had been fed an average of 1½ lbs of meal per gallon of milk produced.
The winter feeding programme is aimed at low cost production and at present high quality silage is the basic diet.
Cows giving two gallons of milk or less receive no hand feeding and meal is fed strictly according to production above this level.
The gross margin of £115-10 per cow achieved represented a gross margin of £122 per acre compared with the Ministry’s “good standard” of £75 and £50 respectively.
Commented Mr D G O’Neill, farm manager: “A gross profit of £3,000 plus from the 34 cows on the 31 acres used for the dairy herd in one year seems both a satisfactory and heartening performance.”
Variable costs per gallon of milk produced worked out at 1s-1d – meal 4.7d; hay, silage and grazing, 4d; veterinary service and medicines, 0.5d; sundries 1.5d, and replacements 2.4d.
With the average price of milk standing at 3s 0½d this left a margin of 1s-11½d per gallon.
The gross output per cow came to £172 less expenses of £57 – meal £20-8, hay, silage, and grazing, £17-4; sundries £8-16 and replacements £10-12 – or £115-10 as a gross margin.
An interesting feature in the sheep project – 30 crossbred ewes are inwintered from the new year to the beginning of April – is the fact that feed costs are 6d per day or £2-10 for the 100 days keep.
The daily feed bill of 6d represents ½lb of meal at 1½d, two lbs of hay at 2½d and eight lbs of silage at 2d.
The ewes are housed on a raised slatted floor in the bay of a hay shed allowing them 12 square feet each. Two adjoining bedded pens are used for lambing and a lamb creep area.
Visitors also showed a keen interest in the cost of production to date of a group of 20 cattle being fed on silage and barley meal.