Archive Article: 1999/05/14 - Farmers Weekly

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Archive Article: 1999/05/14

14 May 1999

One for the woad…Andrew Flux of Gorham and Bateson Agriculture, Downham Market, Norfolk, is hoping this pilot crop of woad will eventually yield blue dye for use in ink-jet printers. Mr Flux believes that the companys research into variety selection and processing will allow it to begin commercial-scale growing next year.

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Archive Article: 1999/05/14

14 May 1999

MESSAGE of the month is still cows first, clamp second. Do not run short of grazing while you are waiting for aftermaths to be ready, writes BGS consultant Carol Gibson.

Be prepared to cut a few acres less silage than planned or is usual. Aim to keep farm cover on the grazing area at 2200-2300kg DM/ha, the longest grass being about 3000kg DM/ha and the shortest about 1600-1800kg DM/ha.

If you need to graze very long grass for a short time, here are some suggestions for dealing with grass over 3500kg DM/ha;

While there is not too much stem in the sward cows will still do quite a tidy job of grazing. If they dont graze it down to 1700kg DM/ha – about 5cm (2in) then you may want to top it to this level after grazing, or have another group of animals graze it off the day after. Another option is to cut that area for second cut silage later on to maintain pasture quality for grazing.

By late May/early June when there is more stem in the pastures try mowing grass ahead of the cows if you have to graze grass that is longer than ideal. Only mow enough for one feed – 12 hours – and let it wilt for a few hours. Intakes are high, the field is left tidy, and regrowth will be good quality.

For those who have turned out late and grazing ground has a high cover of grass now – 2600-2800kg DM/ha – target is to reduce average farm cover on this grazing area to around 2300kg DM/ha. When usual policy is to have a stocking rate on the grazing area of five cows/ha (two/acre), this may need to be increased to 5.5-6 cows/ha (2.2-2.4 cows/acre) during first cut time.

Also, take a hard look at which bulls you are selecting. Another study has shown the problems with fertility in Holstein cows – Holstein type animals had a conception rate 11% lower than New Zealand Friesian type animals, even though submission rates were very similar. Fertility is important in any herd, but especially so in block calving herds. &#42

Daily growth rates

Anglesey 63kg DM/ha

Cumbria 100kg DM/ha

Pembrokeshire 72kg DM/ha

Sussex 63kg DM/ha

Dorset 101kg DM/ha

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Archive Article: 1999/05/14

14 May 1999

Herculean effort…six Haltcliffe Hercules sons have a final brush-up ahead of tomorrows Spring bull sale at Oxnam Row Farm, Jedburgh, held by Limousin breeder Richard Oates. More than 50 bulls are offered, each with individual performance records. "In these increasingly difficult times it is important to have a bull that not only looks the part, but has the performance figures to back him up," says Mr Oates.

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Archive Article: 1999/05/14

14 May 1999

Booklet to profit

MOST commercial dairy herds can increase profits by improving use of genetic information with the help of a new guide published by Holstein UK and Ireland.

HUKI says that many herds are making use of genetic information to improve performance, but not making best use of sire information and failing to use cow genetic information in breeding and management.

It says that bulls should be selected on the combination of production and type traits needed for the herd, rather than relying on tools such as PIN and PLI.

Many herds would also benefit by breeding replacements from cows with the highest genetic value, says HUKI.

Copies of Using Genetic Information to Improve Commercial Herd Profitability are free to HUKI members and cost £10 to non-members (01923-494600, fax 01923-770003).

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