Richard Hinchion milks 60
dairy cows and rears 40
replacements on 34ha (83
acres) at Crookstown, west
of Cork city, in southern
Ireland. With a fixed quota
of just over 300,000 litres,
the emphasis is on low-cost
production. Cows yield
6000 litres from 650kg of
IT LOOKS as though we are only going to get one week of summer weather this year and that came and went in mid-July.
In mid-August, it continued to be changeable and blustery.
I am writing this article the day before going on our family holidays to the, hopefully, sun drenched south-east. I cant wait for a break from milking cows and checking stock. So I hope you wont mind me being upbeat in my article.
We ensiled 8ha (20 acres) of second cut silage on July 31 in ideal conditions. Sugar levels were low at 2-2.25%, but no additive was used. We reckon yield was about 22t/ha (9t/acre) of fresh material.
We now have plenty of silage for this year, not to mention the 50 round bales of silage taken during excess growth.
Teagasc believes there will be a fodder shortage in certain parts of the country due to a wet May and June. Farms are trying to make up the fodder shortfall with alternative feeds and concentrates.
By early August, grass growth took off around the farm. Total grass cover is now too high, as grass is running ahead of cows and is becoming stemmy. I am round-baling 1.2ha (3 acres) of strong grass to bring the rotation back to 26 days.
The 24-36 hour allocation of grass to cows is working well and they have adjusted quickly. Our protein results have gone up to 3.39% since the changeover, an increase of 0.13%. Butterfat is back to 3.49%, which is unexplainable. Overall, our butterfat percentage in July was 3.48 and protein was 3.33%.
After the holidays our annual TB test is due as well as lepto and salmonella vaccinations. Cows are yielding 21 litres on 1kg of pulp.
The bulling period ended on July 31. We extended it by one week to get the scanned cows back in calf.
Grass quality is excellent, due to tight topping across the whole farm in the last rotation.
During a discussion group meeting on the farm, we decided against reseeding one of our silage fields and instead intend to graze it next year, improving the number of tillers. *
Richard Hinchion is looking forward to a break from the daily routine as he takes a holiday with his family.