Farmer Focus Livestock: Slow grass growth keeps cows in for Julian Ellis

Finally the mixer wagon promised to us in December arrived, complete with blades which means it is coping better with the long silage.

The demands of the wagon are greatly reduced since we decided to take out the protein and wholecrop and just feed silage. The small reduction in milk yield would not cover the cost of the ingredients or extra time. The milk quality has not altered and the cows dung noticeably become more uniform indicating perhaps we had more sorting happening than we realised.

Our conclusion is that while we have sufficient land available we will continue with our simple system.

After a run of retained afterbirths we changed the dry cow lick and gave them a trace element bolus. It seems to have worked and so far we’ve only had the one problem cow since, but she had twins. The cows are still in at the moment due to slow grass growth, just like the headland of our neighbour’s winter barley that I mysteriously scorched with some spray. Fortunately he is a good friend, although I think I may have pushed my luck when I joked about the savings in growth regulator.

A wet day investigating a problem in one of the tractors gearboxes proved worthwhile, a 50p washer has fixed the problem, for now this is a more welcome option than finding 50k for a new one.

We have 30 acres or red clover/ryegrass which has had a good cover through the winter. I wanted to graze it to see if the clover would benefit, sadly the senior member of the management committee didn’t agree. Eventually we compromised and have grazed half of it. I will keep you informed whether it was a good idea or ” I told you so.”

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