May 2012 - Posts
I cant believe the weather. We mowed early to give time for the ground to dry but by Sunday the grass was starting to go to hay. Ground conditions were not a problem and 120 acres were picked up in record time. The clamp is now sheeted and we are planning to spread slurry/fertiliser for the rest of the week.
The maize is now safely in and Phil is busy mowing. We are now next in the queue and are hoping to start chopping on Sunday. We are leaving the grass in swaths for as long as we can to try and let the ground dry out. Some of our neighbours have been making a mess,getting stuck picking their grass up but I am sure it will have dried a lot by Sunday.
The first cow calved last night, sorry make that two !!! Both a week earlier than planned but both seem ok. We had almost forgotten what calves looked like when we haven't had any since last October.
The week has started well. The maize ground is worked down and should be sown today. We were not the earliest to sow but maybe the conditions are better now for a quick germination. Our neighbours are busy mowing for first cut. Ground conditions are still a bit soft but the sun is shining for a change. I think we will be starting at the weekend as there is a queue for the contractor. All the cows are out again, a relief to them and us. The first cow due to calve is starting to alter and the rest won't be far behind. Let's hope we can get the silaging finished before they start calving.
A big sigh of relief as the TB test was clear last week. The council inspector was happy with my records so we shouldn't see her again for a couple of years. It did feel as though she was checking up on things already covered by our farm assurance.
We are starting to fetch the silage we have just bought for the cows. It is a bit dry but well fermented so it will fill the gap until the cows go out again. We are sending seven barrens to market tomorrow as they are now fit enough and their milk is starting to tail off. Lets hope they sell well because I am in the office tomorrow paying bills and will need some money coming in soon to help with cash flow after the recent milk price drop. It was the domino effect, once one dropped the rest followed !!
We made the decision on Tuesday to turn the cows out hoping the weather was on the up. It was short lived because after a heavy nights rain we have brought them back in again today. We are completely out of silage but have managed to find a clamp full locally but it really feels wrong to be paying for feed at this time of year.
Today I have checked my cow medicine records are up to date as we have a visit from a County Council inspector on Monday and my farm assurance audit is due soon. Tomorrow the vet is reading a TB test , 15 tracers which were bought last September. Fingers crossed they go clear !!
My Dairy Crest rep had no real answers for the drop in milk price. She was only told two hours before us !! I told her to take a warning back to those further up the food chain that with all this bad weather most farmers have used up any remaining silage stocks. First cut will be late this year and quality down, maize is only just being planted if at all. So this coming winter milk volumes may well be down as well as farmer numbers if milk prices continue to drop this summer !!!
Milking is getting shorter as we are only milking 7 sides in the parlour. We continue to dry cows off and may get down to just 120 being milked before we start calving in June. We have had a sunny weekend but we are waiting to see the weather on Countryfile tonight before we decide to turn the cows back out.
Our first calving due date is now only a month away."C" MINUS 30. This was meant to have been our quiet period but we just seem to be spending money on the cows instead of being as efficient as possible, grazing fresh grass and feeding very little corn. So much for best made plans !! The aim was to calve all 259 cows outside between June and early October. Next week we will start and sort out the first to calve into a separate pen and they will be fed a precalver nut for 3 weeks prior to calving. Lets hope the weather improves so we can get the milkers out next week.
Tomorrow I am having a visit from my Dairy Crest rep, the meeting was booked well before the milk price drop was announced. Lets see if she has some good reasons for the drop !!!