Farmer Focus livestock: Clyde Jones is feeling dry

Grass cover has dropped below 2000 to 1800kg/ha of DM and growth to 13kg/ha of DM, so we adjusted our demand from 45 to 10kg/ha of DM and should hopefully see an improvement in average cover soon.

The dry period has continued with a vengeance; the best sign of measuring the grass was when I stood on something crispy that broke under my weight. Thinking it was a partridge nest, I raised my foot to reveal a dung pat. That’s dry.

We are having trouble treading the electric fence stakes in .We have put the 120-cow once-a-day group on full feed-maize silage, brewers grains and our blend and fed in a paddock near the farm. The 330 twice-a-day group are fed the above with 4kg grass.

The reseeds are greening up quickly, as are the water meadows, with the ability to manage water levels there is good stocks of grass in front of the heifers, as we grazed standing hay for a while before returning to re-growths.

We have swathes of yellow around the farm and are employing lads to pull the ragwort. In theory, because ragwort is a biennial weed, all we need to do is have two good years of ragwort extermination and we will be rid. Wishful thinking maybe.

Just as we set our minds to irrigation, it started raining with every paddock greening up and our blend of calcium ammonium nitrate, sulphate of potash and kieserite applied we should get some descent grass growth.

The cows are looking well with a good shine to their coats. Lameness and mastitis cases have dropped and milk yields are back up to 18 litres or 1.3kg milk solids. Having gone through the transition from grass, it is gratifying that grass alone, which is cheaper, can result in a higher yield than all the above ingredients.

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