Farmer Focus Livestock: Rain, rain go away, pleads Jim Dwyer

The weather has turned against us, with the total average rainfall for November falling in the first half of the month.

This has made grazing grass challenging and we have been operating a strictly three-hours grazing policy.

During the day, cows are brought to the yard at midday and fed 2kgs of citrus pulp and 2kgs of round bale silage. They do not receive any more feed until returning to grass after milking. This guarantees there is an edge to their appetite, thus grazing out the grass to our satisfaction. Despite the weather, we will have most of our stock on grass to the end of November.

We had a bulk milk sample tested for disease and worms and, while we were good on the disease front, we still have stomach worms and liver fluke. These will have to be dealt with when we dry off the cows.

Our discussion group won the economic breeding index (EBI) competition last year and with some of the prize money we went on a farm trip to Scotland and northern England. We visited some good farms and had great talks on all of them. This was made possible by each farmer giving us his financial and technical figures. The problems across the farms are the same we’ve experienced and we learnt a lot from the trip. The one great attribute farmers have is their hospitality, and there was no exception in this case.

As this is my last article before the end of the year I would like to wish everyone a happy Christmas and a prosperous new year. I hope you have enjoyed my articles as much as I have in writing them.

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