Farmer Focus: Late silage feeding surprisingly well

Last time you heard from us, we mentioned our fourth-cut silage. Considering it was made in such bad conditions, it is surprising how well it is feeding.

We have finally had the hedges cut at the farm, so the place is looking a lot tidier. However, afterwards we found 13 thorns in the bike tyre, meaning we had to get a new one – tyre, not bike.

We have also perfected our reversing skills recently, while we have been laying concrete. It gets quite dirty around the sheds, so we have hopefully solved the problem by concreting the area.

Reversing a tractor and Keenan feeder down a 300ft passage hasn’t been ideal, but we are quite the experts now we are back to normality.

See also: Stepped clamp face could alleviate silage slippage

There was a really good turnout at our local evening show in Castle Douglas, including 17 children in the handlers and calf classes, which was very encouraging to see. Two of them were Michael’s “apprentices”, who he took under his wing.

One of the boys even came second in both the handler and calf class. They are already looking forward to the next show.

Michael was on the other side of the judging table when he was asked to adjudicate at the Young Farmers National Cattle Dressing Competition at Ayr Market, which he thoroughly enjoyed.

Back on the farm, our slurry is getting quite high now and it is starting to become a problem.

We also flushed two heifers recently, one from the Apple family and one from the Kiwi family. We were very happy to get 10 eggs in total.

Fencing is becoming an issue. We have come to realise that although our fences are cattle-proof, they are certainly not sheep-proof. We just cannot keep the wintering lambs in and they happily roam the farm.

Meanwhile, Michael has been busy getting four cows ready for AgriScot, as well as a red Hot-Stuff calf that our Eastford Holsteins partnership are selling at the Borderway Black & White Sale – our last event in the 2017 calendar.

Brian Yates, Castle Douglas, Kirkcudbrightshire, milks 250 pedigree Holsteins in partnership with his wife Sheila, son Michael and daughter Anna. Surplus heifers are sold for breeding.