cowdairyThis Involves

Finding your grazers, this might need a couple of adverts in the local paper during April or May, or a few phone calls to local dairy farmers and word of mouth. Once you have found suitable grazers who are happy with your service, they are likely to keep with you year after year.

The dairy grazers will be delivered to your block by the dairy farmer. You will need some kind of facility for unloading from a transporter without a ramp though. Either a loading race or a built up area of earth, with wooden retaining wall at the front.

Grazing management will take a bit of time, you might use electric fences to break feed the grazers to ensure good new pasture for them at required. Feeding out hay will also be necessary probably in a dry summer and wet or cold winter, when pasture growth is at a minimum.

Having a bull running with them from October to January. The owner will organise this, but you need to take the responsibility of having a bull on your property. Usually the bull is only young, so he is not too big for the heifers, and has not developed the behavior problems associated with mature bulls. Talk to the owner if you are worried at this prospect.

A good water supply, a trough in each paddock and a portable trough on a long hose is ideal for break feeding. That is a snag to break feeding - organising water available in each break.

Be aware how important some form of shelter is important from the summer heat and cold winter winds. Trees or hedges are very valuable.

Initial costs

There is no initial cost with grazing dairy heifers

Animal health costs are around $1 per head per week, you can often arrange for the farmer to take care of this for you, or you can offer it as part of the grazing service and will need to charge accordingly.

No specialised equipment is required, apart from handling facilities for drenching etc, and electric fence for break feeding.

Health

Problems may include

  • Scours
  • Facial Eczema
  • Internal parasites
  • External parasites
  • Staggers
  • Bloat 

Your animal health routine, if you are offering this, needs to consider:

  • Drenching for internal parasites
  • Pour on for external and internal parasites
  • Eczema control
  • Bloat control

Feed

  • Good quality pasture
  • Good quality hay or silage if needed

Return

  • $5 - $6 per head per week, depending on the amount of animal health you offer. This is paid monthly usually, so unlike the other options, you get a regular income.
  • Also, although you would hope not to have any losses, if they do occur, they are the farmer's loss. You will not wish to experience it though, so animal health is a real priority.
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