Farmer Focus Livestock: Jim Dwyer is please with milk yields

Warm, fine weather in October has given us a chance to catch up on work and to build up grass covers.

Grass growth rates at 67kg/DM in the first week of October is good and this has led to some high covers and our challenge is to graze out these properly. It is necessary to do this now as we are on the last round for this year and any paddocks grazed now will not be grazed until next February-early March. Grass recovery looks good, giving us confidence we will have grass early next spring. Milk yield is holding well at 2.2kg milk solids a cow at 5.2% fat and 4.02% protein on 2kg citrus pulp.

All heifers and thin cows will be dried off at the end of October with the remainder of the herd finishing in the first few weeks of December.

We passed our TB test and another clear test in mid December will allow us sell heifers again. Hopefully this will happen as it will mean a reduced demand on winter feed aiding cash flow.

The good weather has enabled us to vaccinate all animals for IBR, BVD, Leptospirosis, all calves dosed, hedges cut, slurry spread, and we even got a new lawn sown after a three year wait. All our young stock and some small heifers are now on 2kg of citrus pulp and are on block grazing.

The big challenge now is to set out the 2010 budget. We are going to base it on 2009 milk prices and trim costs to match this. If the price rises then we will have choices, if not then we can still survive, but it will be a big challenge.

More columns from Jim Dwyer

More information from other Livestock Farmer Focus writers