Farmer Focus: Attention shifts to winter issues

The last round of grazing for the year has started and conditions are excellent.

Cows are cleaning out really well and we haven’t had to put silage in yet. 

We will graze 60% of the farm in October, with the remainder grazed up to drying off around the first week of December.

See also: Read more from our livestock Farmer Focus writers

Seasons shift

With silaging finally completed after what has felt like a never-ending number of bales, our attention is shifting towards winter.

Bales are being set out on the out-wintering ground, new fencing and water troughs are going in on some new land we’ve rented ready for winter and we’ve got one milk recording left to do to before we can finalise our dry cow plan. 

We have adopted selective dry cow therapy, which, with our cell count running in the 60s, should see minimal antibiotic use again this year.

Scanning results pleasing

The cows are in great condition. Final scanning results were excellent with a shade over 96% of the herd in calf.

This is a real credit to the quality of the herd and the hard work of the team since this time last year. 

Incidences of lameness have been creeping up this month, however. Our problems mainly being white line disease, bruising or foul. 

Some help was brought in last week to help get back on top of the trimming and we’ll start foot bathing again up to drying off.

The concrete wagons were back in September. Two areas of track around the parlour had deteriorated to the point that cow flow was compromised.

Cows weren’t enjoying walking on them but 80m of concrete track later and we’re all pleased to report they’re flying along now.

The teams from both farms came together last month for a day’s personal development with motivational speaker and business adviser Nollaig Heffernan.

The day focused on improving our communication skills, teamwork and task prioritisation. It was time exceptionally well spent, with everyone really engaging in the day. 

We are very lucky to have a great team of people in the business, and watching their response to an exercise of this nature is evidence of that.

Next week, we welcome our second discussion group of the year – this time all the way from Ireland.

Johnjo Roberts converted his family’s 250ha beef and sheep farm on Anglesey to an 800-head spring-block calving dairy in 2014. Maximising grazed grass and good milk solids are priorities.