FARMER FOCUS: Cows not eating all their rations

As I write in early June, I am sitting here in relative calm compared to some silage-making seasons. This year, we are basking in glorious sunshine and are blessed with near- perfect silage-making conditions. I haven’t even had to do my usual consultation of at least three different weather forecasts every day. All is well, except for yield. We are having to draft in extra acres that aren’t normally silage for the milkers to help with the shortfall.

We seem to be having a battle at the moment with our ration. We are suffering from low milk proteins and I think the cows are low in energy and haven’t been eating all their cow portions. I think it’s partially due to a bit of dry silage towards the back of the pit. It doesn’t take much to upset the ladies.

The new cubicle conversion is now under way and we hope to be finished within a month. From previous experience, I normally find doubling the original time schedule isn’t too far off the mark.

We seriously looked into the green bedding system, which seems to be a hotbed of discussion at the moment, but have elected for mattresses with a view towards possibly using green bedding in the future. It looked spot on for cow comfort but, uncharacteristically, I will adopt a wait-and-see policy on this one.

I must now disappear back to silage, into my tractor, put on my sunglasses, and dream of an industry where feed prices will fall, milk prices will rise and all our management tweaks over the years will fall into place. Sunny days bring out the optimism in us Scotsmen.

Sandy Milne, along with parents Ian and Dawn, farm Carcary Farms, which comprises two farms totalling 506ha. They run a 370 red and black and white Holstein Carcary herd along with their dedicated team. The all-year-round calving herd is milked three times a day and yields 10,300 litres

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