Farmer Focus: Clyde Jones on grass growth

When having my hair cut recently the girl asked if I wanted some product on it. I said I would be milking later, so would be getting some product in it then, but thank you anyway.

The grass has continued to grow well, beating my previous record of grazing silage aftermaths at 25 days; we are down to 10 days. A few showers have helped and average cover is about 2300kg/ha DM and growth at 85kg. We are still on a 14-day rotation and going through a period of stem elongation. Try telling that to the hairdresser

We have 200ha of water meadows on an ESA agreement. This means grazing is extensive and includes rough, old permanent pasture with weedy grasses. We analysed grass from this area and some Italian ryegrass, a traditional example of a silage ley. The old meadows were higher in energy (MJ) and we will be grazing this extensively with our in-calf heifers, but I’m not sure its good training for future grazing. However, you can’t look a relatively-free horse in the mouth.

AI is going well serving 10-12 cows a day. All cows are put to New Zealand Jerseys, this will bring the size down and fertility up. As calves will be smaller, this will aid future calvings, which will also be a vital part of improving herd fertility.

The subsequent generation should also calve easier, have harder feet and be better grazers, the list is endless. Spring heifers have been introduced to the crossbred bulls at a ratio of 10 to 1 and they are grazing high covers to improve body condition.

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