Farmer Focus Livestock: Clyde Jones is keeping dry cows outside

The idea first proposed by this writer via a typo, that we should calve cows on the water meadows seemed a little off the wall. However, here we are doing just that.

We have decided to keep the dry cows on the water meadows and so far so good, with plenty of fibre and clean grazing.

Cows are calving ok, but every evening we have to go down and gather up the calves, otherwise, if left, they may go feral. This also gives me a chance to catch up on the bird life, with a small flock of a dozen yellow wagtails among the cows catching insects.

We eventually baled the grass surplus from July catching a two day window between showers. We did end up with some squidgey bales and together with the rooks attacking them meant we had to get them under cover before passer-bys thought we were growing large black mushrooms.

Grass growth has slowed because we were delayed in taking high covers off and the area built up leading to the clover plant being shaded out. We are now applying a dressing of nitrogen at 125kg/ha.

Fields I had lined up as calving paddocks, which we cut previously, had covers of 3500 which should have grown back. Had we have left them the cover would have been more than 5000 too much and wouldn’t have seen any growth for quite a while let alone calves.

We have a local tradition here at Bisterne at this time of year with the annual scarecrow competition. With the quality of entries getting better each year, the local highway is brought to a standstill with spectators. Who knows may be next year I will be building a scarecrow of a modern grass farmer.

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