Livestock Farmer Focus: Jim Dwyer is unhappy with volume production

The rain arrived just in time and in the right quantities, keeping us away from a drought situation.

It’s been difficult keeping good quality grass in front of the cows, but with strategic topping and taking out strong paddocks for round bale silage we have managed to keep grass in reasonable quality.

This has resulted in our solids going up with our fat at 4.4% and our protein at 3.53%. We are still not happy with our volume production at 18.5 litres, but at least we are being paid on solids production with a negative on volume, balancing it out in payments terms.

Like last year, our cows are eating stones from the side of the cow tracks, which cannot be healthy. We are going to look at this and see if we can come up with some answers. However, we still managed to achieve 86% submission rate in the cows in the first three weeks of breeding.

A lot of our calves have been weaned and are now due their first worm dose. We will also give them a copper bolus as they look as if the need it with the hairs on the top of their ears white. The challenge now is to keep good quality grass in front of these animals.

We have been trying to increase the standards for heifer rearing as we feel they have been too light calving down. With this in mind we will weigh all heifers in August to monitor progress and also to determine the efficiency of our cows based on their bodyweight.

Our milk price is now above 30 cent/litre, which is badly needed by Irish dairy farmers. Many have said to me their reserves have been wiped out, leaving nothing to fall back on if another bad year arises.

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