Farmer Focus Livestock: Low silage yield but better breeding for Jim Dwyer

Good weather continues, making life easier. We got our silage made, but low yields mean we have only half of our requirements. We have closed up the same area again to get our winter requirements and this is the first time we have had to do this in years.

Grass growth rates are down 11% for the first six months of the year as measured by Moorepark research centre. However, they have picked up and we are now taking out paddocks on a regular basis to keep grass quality up and to supply winter feed.

It’s important to keep quality grass growing, to keep milk solids and also our milk price up. Our protein has finally moved above 3.6% and our butterfat above 4.2%. The cows are looking healthy and I believe this is because we dosed them for worms after tests confirmed they had a high worm count.

Breeding has gone well with our submission at 86% and non-return rate at 66%. Our submission rate has been higher in the past, but we are pleased with this year’s results because so many cows had retained placentas at calving. We know our non-return rate will decrease, but at least we are going in the right direction.

Our kale crops have taken well despite being sown late due to the weather. This is good as I believe winter feed will be scarce and expensive.

As I write, Michael Jackson has just died. It’s sad that a person with such natural talent and so wealthy can end up the way he did.

Those of us in farming are lucky because despite not having the financial wealth of others; we are closer to nature and appreciate important things in life. Money can’t buy the pleasure in watching the sunrise on these fine mornings.

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