- Concentrates (also called "cake" and "dairy
meal") generally consist of
maize meal or other energy-rich feeds such as wheat, protein
supplements such as cotton oil cake or sunflower oil cake and
minerals. These have been balanced to the requirements of
Dairy - A
dairy is a facility for the extraction and processing of
animal milk—mostly from cows or goats, but also from
buffalo, sheep, horses or camels —for human consumption.
Typically it is a farm (dairy farm) or section of a farm
that is concerned with the production of milk, butter and
In the context of Free Range Dairy™,
the word dairy refers to milk-based products, derivatives
and processes. For a comprehensive list of the many
milk-based products, see the excellent Wikipedia entry
Dupré (1851 - 1910) - 'Milkmaids in the Field'
- A cow or heifer is said to be "on heat" during that part
of her estrous cycle when she is receptive for the bull and
will be fertile, i.e. she can conceive. Among the signs of
heat is that cows on heat will generally stand to be
"mounted" by other cows in the herd. When the free movement
of animals is restricted, or when animals are herded,
especially on slippery surfaces, heat signs will not be
- The cow starts off life as a calf. After about six-months
of age, we refer to her as a heifer. She will be
at approximately 15 to 18 months of age and calve down nine
months later to begin producing milk. Thereafter she is
referred to as a cow. After about two to three months, she
will come into season ("on
heat") again and will be re-inseminated.
After approximately 300 to 330 days in milk, the cow will be
dried off. She will typically be dry for 60 days before
calving down again. This means that every approximately 370
to about 450 days, the cow is expected to produce another
calf. The majority of cows will have a productive life of
from two to five lactations although cows with ten or even
more lactations are not unheard of.
- By this we mean the grass that is specifically grown as
feed for cows.
A requirement of Free Range Dairy™
is that cows are mostly allowed to graze the pastures rather
than having it cut and either fed to them as part of their
total or partial mixed ration or ensiled to be fed at a
later stage. Grazing is the normal means of feeding for
cows. It allows free interaction between animals and
promotes natural behaviour since movement is not restricted.
- The diet of cows can be classified as consisting of
roughages and concentrates. Roughages are the fibrous
portion of a cow's diet. It is the grass that they graze and
the silage and hay that they are fed.
- This is the resultant roughage source when freshly-cut
and, in the case of grass, pre-wilted, roughages are stored
under anaerobic (lack of oxygen) conditions. Microbes in the
material convert sugar into acids which serve to preserve
the roughages. The whole maize plant is the most common crop
that is ensiled.
|Total Mixed Ration (TMR)
- A milk-production system whereby all feed for the cows is
balanced and pre-mixed before being fed out on feed pads
adjoining a loafing lot or free stall housing. Cows
typically never graze on pastures. Their movement is
restricted by the size of the lot in which they are housed.
In the TMR system, since the lots are close to the milking
parlour, cows are generally milked three times per day; this
being the only opportunity for limited exercise.
In the case of a TMR system where cows are housed in lots,
the lots are on soil with or without a concrete strip at the
feed pad. Dung build-up is cleared away periodically.
Generally a heap of compacted soil is provided in the lot
since cows like to lie on a slightly elevated place. Limited
shade is sometimes provided. Water should be freely
available in drinking troughs.
In the case of a TMR system using free stall housing, cows
are housed under roof and have access to stalls where they
can lie down. Dung and urine collects in the passageway
between the stall and the feed pad.
This may be washed out a
number of times per day either with a power-driven scraper
device or flushed out with a powerful stream of water. This
system further restricts the free movement of and
interaction between cows.