Best practice on a dairy farm

Published 1 September 08

Best practice on a dairy farm

Proper training for new staff, whether students, trainee farm workers or Eastern European labour, is one of the best investments dairy farmers can make, according to DairyCo extension officer in the South West, Chris Coxon.

At a time of increasing pressure on dairy staff, caused by difficulties in recruiting domestic and foreign workers and rising labour costs, it has never been more important to ensure staff are well trained and can carry out the tasks required of them - especially if it's not something they do regularly.

DairyCo's Best practice on a dairy farm DVD can help farmers train new employees - as well as existing ones with knowledge gaps - from both the UK and abroad.

Chris says: "Often there are gaps in basic skills, but farmers find that work pressures don't allow time to fully explain tasks to their employees and with foreign workers there is often a language barrier to overcome.  This is where the DVD comes to the fore."

Asking a tractor driver to help with milking is a good example of when the DVD could be used, suggests Chris.  "A tractor driver might not have any experience of milking but using the DVD could help explain the milking routine and mastitis detection, saving time and giving the tractor driver a better understanding of what they are being asked to do."

Best practice on a dairy farm covers topics such as feeding, breeding, cattle health, stock handling, milking routine, mastitis detection, lameness and hoof care, medicine, machinery handling, and human health hazards.

Chris says: "The DVD gives new employees the background information they need to become an asset to the business and help ensure that safe practices are in place."

The DVD is available in 12 languages.  These are English, Bulgarian, Czech, Estonian, Hungarian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Ukrainian and Welsh.

Another DairyCo DVD, Managing heat detection - How to spot the bulling cow, is available to dairy farmers to help improve workers' understanding of oestrous behaviour and their spotting of cows in heat.

"Many vets find that cows presented with so-called fertility problems are cycling properly - it's just that the heat is being missed," says Chris.  "That has a big impact on the bottom line so it's important to get workers trained up as quickly as possible."

This DVD features English dialogue with subtitles in English, Polish, Bulgarian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Hungarian, Russian and Ukrainian.

Chris says: "The English voice-over is ideal to help foreign workers pick up specific terms, but it also means the DVD is good revision for farmers and herdsmen, or training for tractor drivers who may be working with stock."

To order the DVDs - Best practice on a dairy farm and Managing heat detection - How to spot the bulling cow - email or call 02476 478695.

Chris Coxon can be contacted on 07989 959517 or by email

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