‘Milking cows OAD has reduced milk production by 22%’ – study finds

Over the last number of years, a study looking at the differences being once-a-day (OAD) milking and twice-a-day (TAD) milking has been on-going at Teagasc Moorepark.

Last week, Emer Kennedy, a researcher at Teagasc Moorepark, gave an update on the findings between the two herds.

To date this year, the OAD herd have produced 2,754kg of milk and 249kg of milk solids, while the TAD herd have produced 3,525kg of milk and 294kg of milk solids.

According to Emer, milking the cows OAD has reduced their milk production by 22% and their milk solids by 15%, which is similar to what is being reported internationally.

This year, the TAD herd peaked at 2.52kg/day of milk solids, whereas last year they peaked at 2.3kg/day. In total, they produced 511kg of milk solids last year.

The OAD herd produced 396kg of milk solids across their lactation last year and peaked at 2kg/day of milk solids. This year, that has increased to 2.1kg/day of milk solids.

SCC

According to Emer, somatic cell count (SCC) is often an issue with OAD milking. This year the SCC for the OAD herd is running higher than the TAD herd.

The average SCC of the TAD herd, last week, was 87,000cells/ml, while the average SCC of the OAD herd was 198,000cells/ml.

The cows are currently being offered 18kg of grass, along with 1kg of concentrates. Moreover, swards are being grazed at 1,400kg DM/ha and are being grazed to a post-grazing height of 4.1cm.

Emer added that one of the positives of OAD milking is the increased body condition score (BCS). At the moment, the average BCS of the OAD cows is 3.4, which is almost half a BCS higher than the TAD herd – which is 3.0.

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