Farmer Focus Livestock: Julian Ellis takes control of cattle ailments

Last month car ailments, this month cattle ailments, including a freshly calved heifer that slipped over in the yard, pneumonia, a couple of lame cows and several cows I had to wash out. The three-wheeler problems were not fatal, but sadly the same can’t be said for the heifer.

Despite this, we are pleased with the cows’ performance, particularly milk quality, with protein about 4% and butterfat, although down 0.4% from the winter average, at 5.6% is still better than it was this time last year. We can only presume this is due to the fodder beat we are still feeding.

Being unable to prove otherwise, my father has persuaded me to drill another five acres this year.

We drilled the last of the barley on 11 April, behind a late field of cabbage. But, as I write, there is still no sign of finishing the contract drilling. We are currently getting ready to make silage, a process that includes laying concrete in a clamp that previously had an earth floor, and checking the machinery.

In between jobs, we are putting electric fences around some grazing land we took on 12 months ago. The land has had no chemicals or fertiliser for at least 30 years and it is obvious the horses grazing it previously didn’t have a great appetite for brambles or blackthorn.

However, the place is teeming with wildlife and I can see we are going to need to strike a balance between farming it the way we want while maintaining flora and fauna.

I am looking forward to a couple of wet days so I can catch up with some office work,. Hopefully this won’t happen while we are trying to make silage.

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