Farmer focus, livestock: Jim Dywer

The weather changed from a prolonged dry spell to 70mm of rain in a 24 hour period. This was welcome as growth rates had dropped to 45kg dm/ha which is well below our demand of 76kg. However, if we don’t get a boost in growth rates then we will have to feed concentrates to increase our rotation and build up covers going into the autumn.

The fine weather enabled us to make our second cut silage, which was excellent quality but did not yield well. However, because of the good growing conditions in August, we were able to cut some silage on the outside farm and bring it back to the yard here. This boosted silage stocks and we now need to calculate how much winter feed is available.

The cows are looking better with lovely shiny coats and we put this down to our action on parasites. The latest dung samples revealed any fluke previously present has been killed. We have also given the herd their IBR vaccines and weighed them to measure their conversion efficiency of grass to milk.

All young stock are on two kilos of concentrates because we always feel they benefit from supplementary feed at this time of the year as the weather gets wetter and intakes reduce.

Our farm discussion group went on its annual tour to Wales and England this year. We visited some good farms and one of the big lessons learned was how well young stock were looked after, with some farmers constantly weighing them to monitor their progress. We were also impressed with the stockmen and the stock reflected the attention they obviously receive. To me it is obvious we need to raise our standards of managing stock before increasing cow numbers.

See more