Farmer Focus Livestock: Jim Dwyer is pleased with calving progress

Calving is in full swing and so far going well. Calves are healthier and bigger and have a great ability to consume large amounts of milk, this is in comparison to last year when we could not get large amounts of milk into them without some of them being sick.

The remaining cold weather means there is no grass growth. We are grazing grass day and night. This grass looks brown from all the cold weather but when it was tested at Moorepark Research Centre it came out with a dry matter digestibility of 85% and when the rotten brown grass was analysed it came up with a DMD of 75% which is better than most silage.

Most of our yearling heifers will be put on to grass this week. These animals have been fed kale and silage over the winter and will hopefully not suffer any setback as they are well used to the weather.

We have just had a realignment of the economic breeding index (EBI) of our herd and this gives us an increase to within two points of the top 5% of herds in the country. This is with a lot of Jersey crosses and it shows at last the Jersey is being recognised for the extra profit it can bring to our farming businesses. Now it’s up to us to bring out the best in them with better management.

I have just learned how to test milk for antibiotics on the farm with a new test kit. I know antibiotics should never enter the milk tank but mistakes do happen and it is important to have some way of testing the milk. When the test is positive then we can dump out the milk and not cause extra work for the truck driver.

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