Dairy farmer Oral Wallace remembers when there was a downturn in the local dairy industry. However, since the launch of the Drink Real Milk campaign almost two years ago, he has been reaping immense benefits.
“When I entered the dairy industry, I was feeling a bit down. You had to deal with frequent praedial larceny and there was also a milk glut because consumers were gravitating more towards imported milk powder,” he recalled.
“But now, real milk is very much in demand. Thanks to the Drink Real Milk campaign there is renewed consumer consumption in locally produced milk. Even the current processors of powdered milk are interested in getting back into real milk production,” added Wallace.
Wallace’s farm is situated in Rhymesbury, Clarendon. It was recently visited by two animal nutritionists from the Nuscience Group in The Netherlands. Nuscience is a key partner for feed manufacturers worldwide and a global player in animal feed, nutritional concepts and feed additives in the animal nutrition industry.
The visit, organised by Drink Real Milk partner Nutramix, had the nutritionists touring several farms islandwide where they offered valuable advice and gave farmers recommendations on the rearing and care of their animals, as well as about improving their facilities and farming practices.
Wallace, whose farm was one of those that impressed the Nuscience team, shared some of the practices which he has implemented.
“I pay special attention to the nutrition of my dairy cows,” he explained. “I feed my young calves with Kalvolac milk replacer seven days after they are separated from their mothers. They also have access to Nutramix calf starter and I also give them some roughage, either hay or sugar cane. The heifers are fed with Nutramix dairy developer, which fosters good development. It is important that you give the cows what they require and when they require it.
“Since I began giving the cows Nutramix milk booster pellets and the Nutravit minerals, I’ve seen immediate results. I get at least an additional two litres of milk per cow, per day.”
Wallace also pointed out that a clean and comfortable pen for cattle and on-time vaccination are important practices which provide benefits to farmers in the long run.
The introduction of Artificial Insemination (AI) sex semen distributed by Newport Mills Limited has also allowed Wallace to engage in the genetic improvement of his dairy cattle.
“I saw genetics as one of the pillars to catapult the dairy industry to the next level,” he said. “A 55-pound female calf was recently born on the farm by using AI sex semen. The results have been really great.”
Wallace currently has 85 head of cattle and has been managing the farm since 2000. His parents, who are now retired, ran the farm since 1969.
Today, he supplies to milk both Jamaica Beverages and Serge Island.
“The dairy industry is very profitable. Once you use the correct feeds, proper genetics and have a suitable milking facility, you will make money,” he said.