Farmer Focus Livestock: Julian Ellis gets to grips with a new mixer wagon

Our experience with a mixer wagon is a learning curve. The courtesy machine that was sent to us is keeping us going until the refurbished one arrives; unfortunately it has an appetite for shear bolts. Long silage and a bent paddle, which the company fixed quickly, are the likely cause, along with a novice operator.

Cows seem to be enjoying the mixed forage and the new shed, as they are noticeably ruminating more. However, milk yield is average and despite some extra protein in the diet from 100g of urea and 500g of protected soya, we are yet to see a significant rise in yields.

This extra protein may not be the cheapest available, but it is convenient and lets us see how our cows perform with different feeding before we decide to carry on or go back to feeding simply grass silage and concentrate in the parlour.

The jury is still out on the benefits of the whole crop added to the diet, but I have no doubt it is encouraging starlings.

The pigeons are also appreciative of me providing for them. They didn’t take too long to find the cabbage when the weather turned cold. Even our western tip didn’t escape the snow and freezing temperatures, fortunately we had only one frozen ball cock and the spare capacity in the tank meant we didn’t dump any milk. Sadly we didn’t have so much luck with a dry cow that slipped over in the yard.

Our new year’s resolution is to tackle the pneumonia problem by making the decision to vaccinate. I only hope the vaccine works and that my ability to deliver the resolution is stronger than one in the past to give up beer.

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