TIMBOON dairy farmer Mike Jamieson has reached a stage in life where milk production isn’t the only thing driving his operation.
Mike has started using extended milking intervals to free up more time for other jobs and will persist with the system next season – with a few moderations.
The DemoDAIRY Foundation has been investigating the potential for south-west Victorian dairy farmers to use extended milking intervals (EMI) and the system is starting to gain traction.
Mike is one of at least five south-west Victorian dairy farmers now using various incarnations of EMIs.
Mike introduced 10-in-seven-days milking (10-7) at the start of December last year, but this coming season he plans to use 11-7 and start earlier.
He’s learnt a few things along the way and is confident the EMI system will have long-term advantages.
“I wouldn’t do 10-7 or 11-7 in peak production but our milk in November was starting to come back a bit as the grass wasn’t as lush.”
Mike’s driving motivation was better use of time.
“I have a staff member on 38 hours a week and most of that is taken up with milking,” he said.
“If he’s not doing a few milkings a week, that will free him up to do other jobs around the farm such as fencing or spraying that I was having to do myself.”
His system involved milking twice a day, Monday, Wednesday and Friday and once a day on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.
For 2022-23 he plans Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday 8-8.30am, the rest twice a week.
He will start somewhere between mid-October and November 1.
“When I changed, at the same time the grass was going from lush to woody; you don’t want to bombard them with too many changes at the same time,” he said.
He will also maintain the same grain input.
He milks 240 Jersey-Holstein crossbreds but isn’t confident enough at this stage to say he will maintain the peak 27 litres and high components output during 10-7, but he has seen plenty in New Zealand who have achieved the same production.
But production is not his only influence.
“When you’re younger, you’re looking for every kilo, but now in my mid-50s, production isn’t the be-all and end-all,” he said.
“I need other jobs done and was having to do it myself, or the business was having to pay overtime. In this system, my employee gets 2-3 milkings off so there’s another 6-9 hours work that can be put in on the farm somewhere else.”
The DemoDAIRY Foundation is keen to hear farmers’ thoughts about extended milking intervals, such as 10-in-7, 11-7 or 3-2.
While not actively promoting the system, DemoDAIRY Foundation says it would help interested farmers to find more information if there’s enough interest.
People can register interest in finding out more about extended milking intervals by contacting email@example.com or call Ian Teese on 0427 358 987.