Farmer Focus: Blue-crosses are calving with ease

At the time of writing (12 February) we are looking like being 30% through our calving by the end of day 12 of our planned calving period.

Cows have been calving with ease and in good body condition. Cleansings are good with fewer than 2% receiving any form of attention for retained placenta or metritis.

Part of our breeding policy this time was to serve some cows to British Blue.

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Thankfully, these cows look to be calving with ease. All the early signs suggest that these Blue-cross calves will make good, viable animals for beef finishing.  

The pick of the bull calves are sold to a local farmer who will keep them on a rotational grazing system to about 18 months before selling on for finishing.

It is going to be interesting to see what the financial gain is between the best of the black-and-whites and the Blues.

With the impending changes to bull calf policies enforced by the dairy processors, breeding and calf rearing systems will have to be reviewed across Europe and the UK. 

It is going to have a significant effect on the volume of beef supplied from the dairy farms. There will be no policy that suits all farms.

Earlier on, the farm had dried out nicely in the build-up to calving, and grazing conditions have been perfect, with calved cows out grazing day and night. 

However, Storm Ciara gave us a battering with westerly winds straight off the sea and 54mm of rain in a short time. 

But the rain stopped, and the unrelenting gales have quickly dried the ground out again. This means that normal service has resumed.  

It will now be interesting to watch the rate of regrowth on the grazed fields.

There is an obvious change in colour to the fields a day or two after grazing.

Some daffodils are already in full bloom, we are hopeful things keep heading in the right direction towards springtime.


Johnjo Roberts is a Farmer Focus writer on Anglesey. Read his biography.