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CLIENT NEWS: Tracking feed helps to improve herd productivity

Tracking feed helps to improve herd productivity

Dairy feed company GrainCorp Feeds is offering a free milk monitoring and prediction tool that aims to help farmers increase their productivity.

The tool, called Tracker, uses the latest in data analytics combined with nutritional information from GrainCorp Feeds to give accurate predictions on the farmer's average daily milk solids, including percentage of milk fat and protein. Tracker also provides live feedback on milk quality including somatic cell count and milk urea when that data is available. This data provides farmers with invaluable insights into the herd's nutrition.

General Manager of GrainCorp Feeds Daniel Calcinai said, "Tracker provides real time monitoring and predictive analytics to put the power in the hand of the farmer.

"By understanding the impact of different nutritional profiles on output, it allows farmers to quantify the benefits of investing in feeds and ensures they are getting maximum returns. Dairy farmers can input their weekly calving patterns and set production targets for the season based on an accurate estimation of milk flow.

"By identifying the herd's overall potential and monitoring it in real-time, it helps farmers to choose the right feed at the right time and consequently improve productivity," Mr Calcinai said.

The free tool has been used by Share milkers Ernst and Antonia Hut over the past year and has seen their herd's milk production climb by 10 per cent.

The couple, who milked 215 cows on 82 hectares at Honikiwi in the Otorohanga district last season, pushed production up to 107,000kg of milk solids with 35 less cows.

"By using Tracker, we were able to increase production by about 10 per cent and also produce 20 per cent more milk per cow," Mr Hut said.

Tracker utilises milk data from the Huts' milk company and analyses it with the feed data the couple input, combined with data from GrainCorp Feeds, enabling them to make informed decisions on what feed to use and potential returns.

"You can see on a day to day basis if production is - and stays on - target. You also can react quicker if you go off target and there is need for change.

"Efficiency is really important for farmers. So to get more litres, increased protein and overall more milk solids from less cows is an ideal outcome.

"We are extremely happy with Tracker and it has now become an invaluable part of our farming," Mr Hut said.

Registering a farm business on Tracker is free. GrainCorp Feeds help with the initial form set-up making the process easy and hassle-free for the farmer.

The system will be showcased at the New Zealand National Agricultural Field days. For more information please visit