I don’t want to go on about the weather too much, but when 67mm of rain falls from the sky in one day and water starts flooding into the farm office it makes you take notice. We ended up using bags of magnesium flakes as sand bags. I did consider packing two of each cross-bred Jersey, Ayrshire and Friesian and finding a big ark for them.
Unfortunately some of the calves contracted pneumonia, despite being in the most sheltered field on the estate. We have treated them and they are improving nicely. Typically, I was able to drive into the paddock and not leave wheel marks. Now that’s when farming on sand over gravel pays off.
We had recently completed applications of calcified seaweed (230kg/ha) and our blended fertiliser (200kg/ha). The seaweed has a liming effect and improves root development and we have seen a reasonable response from the grass as well as out wintering crops. This brings our totals to 148kg/ha of N, 90kg/ha of potassium, 50kg/ha of magnesium and highest of all, 176kg/ha of sulphur, but of course all this is next to useless unless the pH is optimum. We will do soil tests later in the year.
Grass has grown recently from a low of 20 and jumped to 70, then 50 and our average cover now at 2,281 puts us in a good position for autumn rotations and subsequently the first rotation next year.
On that note, the migrating birds heading south – Wheatears, Yellow Wagtails and a Redstart – indicate the tide is on the turn, hopefully not literally.
Clyde Jones manages a 500-cow dairy herd on the 1,600ha (3,954 acre) Bisterne Estate, Hampshire. The herd is spring block calved and milked through a 50-bale rotary parlour. The cows are currently being cross bred to Jersey, Friesian and Ayrshire bulls.