It’s funny what gives one comfort, but I find comfort in electric shocks. It’s comforting to know stock are safely behind an electric fence that is not shorting out.
We currently have two groups outwintering – no denying it still winter out there.
The fattest dry cows are on fodder beet and silage bales in a wet field, having tried everything to minimise mud. We have turned the whole thing on its head, given the cows carte blanche as the leaves have died off, and we are rationing bales. We have last year’s spring calves and some thinner dry cows on self-feed grass and maize silage.
Grass growth in January measured at 1977kg/ha DM, this was confirmation of a degree of winter kill with a difference of 250kg/ha DM compared to the closing cover at the end of last year. Another measurement taken half-way through February revealed further loses and an average of 1865kg/ha DM. This week revealed further reductions as we ate off the top of the wedge. We seem to be making up in quality what we are lacking in quantity, with dry matter 20%, protein 27%, ME more than 11MJ and 71D value.
We have dusted off the spring rotation planner and decided to put it back with other volumes of fancy and scurrilous claims. All we have to do is stick to the recommended area allowance, and bat on regardless. I will let you know when we hit 1500kg/ha DM average if it’s around “Magic Day” all well and good.
Calvings are going well with heifers getting up to 62% by the first three weeks. Cows are not in so much of a hurry. Cross breeding with Jerseys, Montbeliards, Normandys as well as Friesians makes for a myriad of colours for this year’s calves.More columns from Clyde Jones
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