Regular footbathing to control digital dermatitis continues throughout summer for Anthony Jeanes’ 140-cow herd at Manor Farm, Cricket Malherbie, Somerset.

Ideally, cows walk through two copper sulphate footbaths and one of formalin every fortnight.

In practice, says Mr Jeanes, it tends to be weekly.

Even so, it is necessary if cows are to remain sound and keep coming up to eat at the trough.

“Without it we would get a flare up of dermatitis.

We also use a foot trimmer, who comes on to the farm about five times a year,” he explains.

This 9300kg yielding herd forms the basis of a business selling freshly-calved heifers.

Housing all year round started in 2003 as a way of controlling yields and avoiding the fluctuations seen at grazing.

But it also means being on the ball and continuing with winter management all year round, says Mr Jeanes.

“We run the same routine – from scraping out slurry passages twice a day, to bedding up cubicles with sawdust.”

Mr Jeans is also particular about clamp management and trough hygiene to maximise intakes of quality forage.

This becomes essential in summer when warm weather can quickly lead to spoilage.

Troughs are under cover and brushed out daily to prevent leftover feed heating up.

Silage is analysed every six weeks to monitor changes in fermentation, so rations can be adjusted accordingly.

Mr Jeanes also increases the amount of grass silage fed to work across the clamp face in six days instead of 10.

“We try to work across the maize face in five days because that can get a little bit of heat.

Although we use an inoculant, there is a risk of secondary fermentation with high dry matter silages – 34% grass and 31% maize – as they are harder to consolidate in the clamp.”

fwlivestock@rbi.co.uk