Andrew, Marisa and Kirstie Baird

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Changes made by the Baird family to the way they run their business have had a massive impact on improved efficiency and productivity.

Andrew Baird farms in partnership with his wife Marisa and daughter Kirstie, running a 200-cow, crossbred, robot-milked autumn block calving herd near Lanark, Scotland.

There are 81 hectares (200 acres) at the home farm, with a further 22ha (55 acres) four miles away, bought recently for youngstock grazing. In 2010, they moved to paddock grazing to increase whole farm production and at this time were milking 180 cows twice a day with a fresh paddock after milking.

The cows are happy to graze the paddocks to an average post cover of 1,495kg/ha (605kg/acre).

In January 2020, they started milking with robots and increased the herd to 200 cows. They operate an A B A, B A B grazing system, so cows get three fills of fresh grass a day. The third rotation is pre-mowed to maintain
grass quality and ultilisation.

As a result, both grass and milk production have increased, but at the same time, fertiliser usage has been reduced.

Soil sampling results showed low levels of P and K and, because of this, the grazing platform now receives 11,360 litres of slurry/digestate (75/25) mix in late February/early March via a dribble bar which is wider than a
trailing shoe so there is less tracking.

This is followed by 25-30 units of nitrogen per grazing until late August, with the aim of grazing until the end of October. Composted farmyard manure is generally spread on grazing areas.

Cows are averaging 7,675 litres from 1.8 tonnes of concentrate with 4,077 litres coming from forage. The aim is to increase milk from forage and the family closely monitor the herd, recording individual cow’s data provided by the robots to highlight the most efficient cows so they can be used to breed replacements.

Andrew says: “In light of increasing changing weather patterns and volatility, we aim to remain flexible and be prepared to adjust management accordingly.

“This might include using multispecies swards, changing the grazing pattern, as well as continually improving genetics to become more resilient.”