The rain has finally stopped here in Binh Dinh Province, Vietnam and I can finally work on my tan at the weekends. Temperatures are holding steady at 25 degrees Celsius which is nice for the cows and me! This is peak season for artificial insemination (AI) as the cooler temperatures can be linked to higher conception rates.
My project with Alltech was initially with calves and the rearing system in place here, but last April’s breeding season is coming to an end, so there are only 10 to 12 cows left to calf. Therefore, a new project has been put in place for me. If you’re in the farming industry you know that the key to dairy farming is making money while still providing a healthy, sustainable product to consumers. Through Alltech’s research and innovative on-farm monitoring techniques, I will be helping to save this farm money, improve the cows’ health and also help increase the farm’s milk production.
At present day, this farm is grouping their cows by days in milk. This is not an efficient way to group cows as some cows are over-fed and some are under-fed, so my focus will be on regrouping them by milk production levels. By doing this, we can accurately feed the cows and in turn, control their body condition scores (BSC), which is also an issue here. So I will monitor the fresh cows and the high production group of cows (<21 days) in order to gather information and show a comparison on how much we have improved these groups compared with their performance in the past. Busy and exciting times lie ahead.
In other news, I handed out all my presents to the workers here. They were all delighted with their Irish chocolates. I have been told chocolate is very expensive here so their eyes lit up when they saw my gifts. The Lunar New Year is celebrated here on February 19th, and I was invited to go to Hanoi with a farm worker, so I may get the chance to celebrate two New Years within two months!
I also wrote a piece while conducting a study on colostrum feeding here on-farm, and I was impressed with the results I got with it. I shared the findings with my friends on Facebook, and The Irish Farmers Journal kindly published it, if you would like to check it out. Here is the link: http://www.farmersjournal.ie/educating-vietnamese-farmers-on-the-importance-of-colostrum-173239/.
I have to go now and put on some sun cream, as it’s very hot! Meanwhile, make sure to wrap up warm, Ireland!