Published: 25 Jul 2019
Sam Flight, TIA
Recently, the Devonport Discussion Group met at the Bloomfield family’s farm, near Railton. Below is a summary of what the group members learnt about the business.
Name: Luke Bloomfield
Discussion Group: Devonport
Effective Farm Area: 140 ha with 100% irrigated
Peak Cow Numbers: 650 total (split calving)
Target Production: 650 kg MS/cow
Luke Bloomfield, his father David and brother Paul run a successful dairy farming business near Railton, milking Holstein Friesians through a 54-bale rotary. They target individually feeding cows on based on production and condition score to fully feed their cows and get the most production they can.
The family’s dairy farming philosophy is to:
1. Farm to their system and make decisions that work for their farm. For Luke this is about understanding their system, including the limitations and risks. The Bloomfield’s do an excellent job at this and know how far they can push the cows to meet their potential.
2. Focus on animal health, welfare and nutrition, ‘cows make us the money, so looking after our biggest asset means we need to feed them well and ensure they are as happy as they can be’. This focus starts with a balanced diet. Luke feeds up to 18kg of grain to high producing cows - cows producing 75 litres milk per day. With this high a concentrate feeding level the diet needs to be carefully balanced.
3. Good people and relationships are a big part of the business’ success. Luke highlighted he works closely with the people he trusts and who are specialists, whether it be for fertiliser or nutrition decisions. He made the point you can’t know everything so getting the right people along for the ride is critical.
It might be a view that a higher-input system means less of a focus on pastures. However, Luke strongly believes pasture is extremely important to their business. They have a high stocking rate to utilise the pasture well. One of the challenges of a high stocking rate is avoiding pugging damage, particularly around the calving period. To manage this, they use a calving shed. Making the right decisions on pasture rotation length, renovation strategies and fertiliser application amounts and timing are all components of the focus on pastures.