BackgroundDerryvale Dairy in South Gippsland, Victoria, Australia has been in Bruce Glasgow’s family for 120 years. Originally owned by his great-grandparents, the farm has been managed by Bruce since 2008. The mixed Holstein and Jersey herd is milked twice a day. A closed herd, it has increased naturally by approximately 40 cows over the past 10 years. Production, however, has increased dramatically due in large part to better grazing management.
In 2014, Bruce starting using outside labour for the frst time, to help with milk harvesting and heat detection. As a result, “It felt like we had an increased empty rate, possibly because the labourers aren’t so skilled at heat detection or identifying the individual cows – they don’t know the cows as well as I do.” Beyond improving heat detection accuracy, Bruce wanted to reduce manual checks of fresh cows, and better synchronize peak milk production timing with peak grass growing season. He also wanted to be more selective in culling in order to improve the quality of his herd.