Aerator’s added value is impressive

Last month we caught up with combined slit aerating and slurry spreading. I was impressed with the way the machine shattered the compacted land and left the surface slightly unstable, but in a good way.

We had good growth from this field and good uptake leaving reasonable residuals. The best bit was finding the electric fence stakes go in really easily and, if not, there is a handy hole (from the aerator) not far away. Hopefully, we will get round the rest of the farm in the autumn.

Our submission rate (percentage of cows to first service) wasn’t so good this year – at the 21-day point we were only at 75%, but we did get to 80% after 24 days. All the heifers, home-bred and bought-ins, did better at 90%. The older Holstein cows are letting the side down, which may be the result of good milk production this year. We have brought the bulls over for added stimulation. The non-return rate has been good so far, with few cows coming forward for repeats. Average pasture cover has held well until recently when it took a dive from 2,330 to 2,150kg/ha DM with growth dropping from 64 to 32. Now we are grateful for any grass, heading or not.

We have put 120 of the thinner cows on once-a-day milking and we are feeding about half their requirements with maize and brewers grains.

Nice to hear the welcome return of the nightjars, swifts and even a turtle dove, passing through.

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