Llwyn Goronwy Project introduction

The following areas will be addressed with suggestions on what type of data is required to help the farmer make management decisions;



a. Separate reporting for heifers and cows as heifers are normally calved down earlier.

b. Presentation of data when cows are calved in blocks. For example, cull cows need to be identified at the start of breeding and the total number of cows to be presented for breeding need to be inputted before mating begins.

c. Planned start date of mating to enable monitoring of the herd’s progress and success at achieving these KPI’s

  • 3 week submission rate % (i.e. the number of cows that are presented for service in the first three weeks of the service period)
  • 6 week in-calf rate % (i.e. the number of cows pd positive)


The KPI to be set for the calving period is as follows;

  • Percentage calved in 3 weeks, 6 weeks and 9 weeks from the planned start of calving (linked to the date set for the start of mating)

The mid-point calving date (date when 50% of all animals have calved) will be used in conjunction with the grass growth curve to set feeding rates as it is this mid-point cow that is used to set the feed requirements for a herd in a block calving herd.


Cow performance and genetics:

More suitable measures of performance will be investigated to enable the farmer to make better use of the recorded data in breeding decisions. This includes;

  1. KgMS/Day will be assessed at each recording
  2. The Spring Calving Index (£SCI) will be investigated to see if that provides a better measure compared to the Profitable Lifetime Index (£PLI)
  3. Completed 305d Lactation KgMS/KgLW. The farmer could input Liveweight after weighing @100 days after calving to assess the performance of the animals compared to their size. This will provide a measure of efficiency.


What will be done:

  1. Initially weigh all cows at 100 – 120 days in milk. This will be done at the start of the project (August 2019)
  2. Bi monthly – DIY milk recording using NMR’s 4 Grazing service(3 recordings in the remainder of the 2019 milk year, 4th recording will at the beginning of the new milk year in April 2020
  3. Investigate Johnes status in conjunction with the farm vet



Current reporting systems are more suited to all-year round (AYR) herds rather than block calving systems. If more spring calving herds are to take up the option of milk recording then fertility and production information should be presented in a relevant format which is essential if herds are to become more efficient.

Llwyn Goronwy Farm currently only have their milk tested 4 x times/year by National Milk Laboratories on behalf of their milk purchaser. This is standard practice for establishing milk price. However, they would like to make better use of recording data to improve the performance and profitability of the herd. The following objectives have been identified:

  • Improving yields per cow
  • Increasing weight of fat and protein produced
  • Culling cows with high cell counts
  • Selecting cows for breeding based on performance
  • Selecting heifers using production recording of their dams
  • Recording liveweight to monitor performance compared to liveweight (i.e. are heavier or lighter cows more efficient). This will be measured as kilogrammes of milk solids (MS) per kilogramme of liveweight – kgMS/kgLW