Improved cow margin with NutriONics

18 Jun 2021

Muirside, located just north of Dumfries is one of three farms owned by the Cowhill Trust where since 2018, Stuart Neish has managed the mixed unit of 1200 acres, a dairy herd, a recently established suckler herd, 1700 breeding ewes and finishing store lambs.

“We are currently sitting with 210-220 cows, predominantly Ayrshires with some red and white Holsteins. The herd is currently producing an average of 10995 litres. On our last recording, we were averaging 38.3 litres with 3.9% butterfat and 3.34% protein.” says Stuart.

Milk is supplied to Lactalis, Stranraer for cheese manufacture on a contract where a bonus is paid at 3.3% protein and above. “We sometimes struggle with protein, it’s a compromise between that and volume but it’s the litres that pay.”


On farm support

Arol Hyslop, dairy specialist and Maimie Sloan, dairy technical nutritionist have been providing support at Muirside since October 2019. Performance monitoring and walking the herd provide the backbone of support along with monthly checks on diets.

From November 2019, an increase of 1000 litres arose from the addition of Harbro products to the TMR – Invergold and Ultimate 35 – and compound in the parlour. The ration was designed to utilise as much home grown feed in the diet as possible.

A further 500 litres was yielded after the ration was updated using our new rationing package, NutriONics which helped create a better balance of nutrients Stuart was already using.



Our dynamic rationing programme and forage analysis system takes into account how individual components interact with each other inside the cow, in particular considering effective energy and protein supply in a fully integrated approach.

It enables for the creation of more efficient and cost-effective diets, providing an accurate measurement of the energy available from the end products of fermentation and digestion (Dynamic Net Energy – DyNE). 

Performance improvements

Key improvements highlighted through Harbro Milk Monitor and milk recording figures since October 2019 are:

  • Although cost per litre has decreased around 1ppl, cow margin/head/day increased from £3.49 to £5.39 ((total milk sold less total feed cost).
  • Rolling 12 month average milk yield increased from 9864kg (previous 12 months) to 10255kg (current 12 months)

“I think forage quality and having maize has also been a benefit and feeding Harbro Opal 18 compound which was reintroduced this winter. Performance monitoring shows that not only are the cows producing more, they are showing persistency through lactation and their energy status is very good.” says Maimie.

Stuart says “The cows look healthy, their coats look good so the diet changes have helped there. We have a fairly young herd here with a lot of heifers so there is plenty of potential. We are still looking to increase yields but not to the detriment of the fertility and stay with twice daily milking for the time being.”

“The housing and milking facilities here could be considered quite old-fashioned so I think they’re doing pretty well. We get a good service and yields have increased. I am very happy with the backup and service that we receive from the whole team at Harbro and look forward to where we get to in the near future.”



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