Livestock Farmer Focus: Always something with cows, says Julian Ellis

It seems like I spoke too soon about the retained afterbirth situation. Our record of none since we started giving the dry cows boluses was spoiled by two cows in a row, probably caused by too much September grass.

The good growing conditions and 15kg of nitrogen applied to some of the grazing fields at the end of August is keeping the milkers going well, as well as some third-cut red clover silage we are feeding in the yard.

Anybody with livestock knows that there is always something. Our most recent casualty is a case that both us and the vet have never seen before – a cow with an abscess under her belly which burst and then started leaking stomach fluid,.

She seemed remarkably well, but the chances of it healing were slim so she had to go, along with some barren and high cell-count cows who reached nearly 90p/kg for the best animals.

The nice spell of weather made light work of the 54 acres of seeding out and bringing in the last of the straw. With 800 round bales off 94 acres we had the pleasant problem of not knowing where to put it all. With straw prices where they are its nice to know that the extra work and expense of growing our own has been worthwhile.

Cabbages are growing well despite there being a lot of mildew around. Most of them have now been hoed twice. Anybody looking over the hedge could have been forgiven for thinking they had stepped back in time seeing father and myself with our 47-year-old little Fergie and a steerage hoe.

Appearances aside it did a good job, used little fuel and gave dad a chance to relive his youth.

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