Jim and Grainne Dwyer farm 107ha (274 acres) in partnership in the midlands of Ireland. They run a herd of 200 New Zealand Friesian and New Zealand Jersey cross cows and breed heifer replacements

Calving has gone well with 82% calved in six weeks, but then nothing calved for two weeks. This hold-up is frustrating as we cannot move on to the next job. Our next big challenge is breeding and the cows have been tail-painted and we are already observing signs of heat.

Milk proteins at the beginning of April have dropped to 3.39%; this is disappointing as in March they were up at 3.6%. Also disappointing is our fat, which has never gone above 4% where it was this time last year.

We’ve started our second round of grazing earlier than planned, but there is enough grass and quality is good. In the first round we were grazing down to 3-3.5cm in ideal grazing conditions. We had little rain over a five-week period and this makes managing grass easier.

This is the first time in more than a year we could graze our wet paddocks so tight. This should lead to quality grass in the months ahead, provided we manage growth rates and cow demand properly. There’s no doubt feeding this type of pasture will lead to higher proteins and better condition scores on cows in future.

All animals have had their IBR vaccine with maiden heifers also receiving copper and iodine boluses. Heifers receiving kale, silage and citrus in winter are doing well, compared to heifers on kale and silage which haven’t done so well. Maybe the fact they had IBR last year didn’t help.

The finances of the country are not going well, but I often feel the country is like a farm. If money is not coming in then we’ve got to cut costs provided we do not cut future income, and this is something our politicians should keep in their minds for the future.

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