Jim Dywer’s calves are doing well

March was a dry month, but we had some cold night frosts. But, grazing conditions have been excellent which means pastures have been grazed well. Consequently the quality of grass in the future should be good.

Grass is still tight but dry matters have been high and cows content. We are still feeding silage and concentrates with the grass and these will be phased out as grass covers increase. We need rain to bring kindness and this is what we are getting as I write.

The entire farm got its second application of urea the third week of March at one cwt/acre, once we get into the second round of grazing we will follow the cows with nitrogen as they leave the paddock.

Our calves have been doing well with few problems. We put this down to stomach tubing them with two litres of colostrum within a few hours of birth. This guarantees they get the optimum amount of antibodies into their system as soon as possible after birth. Calves have been out to grass once they are three weeks old.

The small maiden heifers are still getting a kilo of concentrates to help them to achieve their target breeding weight. It is hard to believe breeding is just around the corner and we will be tail painting the cows as you read this.

We have very few retained placenta this year and we put this down to bolusing the cows at drying off. One problem we had was milk fever. I have given more bottles of calcium this year than in the previous 20 years of farming. We put this down to the good condition score of the cows at calving and possibly inadequate minerals when they were on fodder beet.

Once again we were over quota and with dairy markets so good it does not make sense to be paying fines on a system that is going to finish in a few years.