AT A RECENT MDC meeting, the debate ranged from improving its extension service to teenage girls drinking milk and “What If?”. The “What If?” is a scenario planner, which encourages forward planning using your own farm”s financial and physical data.
We had the opportunity to use it with some excellent consultant backup on a pilot course. By linking this up with the success of Milkbench, it will be a very powerful tool. All those on the pilot course were impressed with its potential to improve their businesses.
Spring is my favourite time of year, particularly when it is dry, allowing all milking cows out to graze. They certainly have leapt in milk production. This suggests a shortage of energy in silage, which we are going to improve in the second year with the forage wagon system.
One of the ways we are planning to do this is by filling hundreds of sausage-style draught excluders to add weight to clamp edges by keeping the secure green woven covers taut. It may mean the end to tyre throwing at the farm, which usually sees people scatter for other jobs – even dock pulling.
The firm ground conditions have enabled us to spread nutrients in the form of well-rotted compost and small amounts of slurry as cows leave a paddock. It is certainly helping, as dad commented recently he could hear the grass growing, which my guess is about the 20kg of DM/ha a day or enough for two cows.
Spring beans are drilled into warmer soil than usual. However, the ploughing is more complicated, with 6m and the normal 2m wildlife margins to be avoided. We have appreciated seeing numbers of wagtails and skylarks on the over-wintered stubble.
The tined Weeder harrow is proving a universal tool, spreading any lumps of compost left by the dual spreader and also scratching seedling weeds from cereal crops.