The McInnes Partnership farm at Harrisville in south-east Queensland milks 550 cows producing 4.2 million litres annually, with a rolling herd average of 7600 litres.
The McInneses have invested in some key infrastructure that minimises feed wastage.
Commodity Shed The McInneses feed a number of byproducts and meals. These include brewers grains, canola meal and whole cottonseed.
Early in 2016, they invested in a commodity storage shed to minimise wastage due to soil contamination of feedstuffs, spoilage due to rainfall, and heating from sunlight.
The shed cost $75,000 (ex GST), with an expected lifespan of 25 years.
Moving from their previous on-ground storage to the new shed has meant a reduction of feed wastage from an estimated 5 per cent to less than 1 per cent.
Given that they feed about $300,000 ex GST a year in byproducts, this represents a saving of $12,000, with a payback of about six years.
In 2003, the business built a shaded feedpad and introduced a partial mixed ration to their feeding program.
A unique aspect of this feedpad was the dimension and height of the troughs.
These troughs are about 1.2 metres (internal) across and allow cow access from both sides. There is an electric wire that runs down the middle of the trough to manage cow behaviour.
In terms of feed wastage, the trough design has advantages in terms of limiting cows dropping feed onto the feedpad floor while chewing, with spillage remaining in the trough.
The troughs are also built 35 centimetres above ground level. This leads to an ease of feeding and saliva flow.D
Article courtesy of Subtropical Dairy newsletter Northern Horizons.