When Spencer Rendell saw a webinar on 10-in-7 days milking in July 2021 he jumped right in and implemented the system on his farm the very next day.
Spencer, his wife Rachael, along with their children Charlie and Lawson, and parents Geoff and Glenys, moved to their new farm at Tandarook in 2019. They originally moving to northern Victoria from New Zealand in 1999, and still own a cropping farm near Echuca.
With industry-wide staff replacement issues, Spencer started to look at other options to the traditional twice-a-day milking currently used on the new farm.
“As farmers we’ve got to work smarter, not harder. With 10-in-7 milking farmers can re-energise and it makes it a lot more attractive when looking for staff.”
Mike Waite from LIC shared a podcast on the 10-in-7 milking with Spencer and he said it was a no-brainer.
“There’s a lot of research in New Zealand on the system, and there’s so much flexibility”.
With the new system they milk on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 5.30am and 2.30pm, whereas on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday they start at 9.30am.
“We had been milking year-round so now we are able to plan for a break, you can do whatever you want with the system to make it suit your lifestyle.” “People can make the system suit them – don’t let the cows rule your life.”
This year after calving down in February they milked once-a-day for three weeks and then milked 10-in-7 the rest of the season. Milking 300 cows on the 240 hectare farm, they changed to seasonal supply to adjust to the new system. 200 beef cattle are also reared on the farm.
“For the first two weeks after introducing 10-in-7 production dropped by 10 per cent, but the weather wasn’t good. After that it improved and has now actually increased.”
“You do have to be on your pasture management though and feed them like you’re milking twice a day.”
Spencer adds the cows have enjoyed the change with improved overall health, along with easing pressure on their feet over winter with the cows doing 33 per cent less walking. It’s a no-brainer you get the lifestyle benefits of once-a-day milking without the big pay cut. “We are doing around 480kg MS and expect to maintain in-calf rates of 93 per sent over a nine week period.
Spencer says it’s time for farmers to be more innovative, balancing lifestyle and profit.
This article was re-produced with permission from the DemoDairy Foundation.