Farmer Focus: Calving and silaging are now on the agenda

Now that lambing has ceased, albeit a few stragglers, we can focus our attention on calving.

The herd was established four years ago, when we purchased some British Blue-cross heifers. We thought the time was right for a small herd of cows to accompany the ewe flock.

I’ve always been partial to British Blue-crosses, mainly because of their quiet temperament and maternal qualities.

The muck is immensely valuable and there is something very satisfying about watching youngstock develop.

See also: Pelvic measuring helps halve assisted calvings and calf losses

The cows are by far my favourite faces on the farm. All, of course, are individually named and have their own distinct characters.

 I’m not sure what the vet thinks at TB testing when “Dolly Parton” wanders through the crush.

We purchased a Limousin bull last autumn, having previously AI’d all of our cows. He did not appear to lack in confidence when greeted with the girls and scanning confirmed all but one are back in-calf.

We are looking forward to seeing his progeny imminently.

The Shorthorn cows have all successfully calved, with strong and healthy calves at foot. We contain these as a separate herd on the farm.

They are a hardier cow and are currently grazing off the unimproved pasture, in readiness for reseeding next season.

The new silage pit will be completed in two weeks’ time – just in time for a test run as the first cut of red clover will be mown. The wholecrop we planted this spring appears to be establishing well.

This is the third year we have grown the pea and barley mix, which is undersown with a clover ley. This will be the primary source of fodder for the cattle throughout the winter months.

It is mixed in with the red clover silage to produce a high-protein and starch value feed, growing the cattle at a rate we are impressed with.

This time of year really is my favourite time on the farm. Seeing the abundance of new life out in the fields makes all the hard work and tougher times seem very worthwhile, and I cannot imagine a more rewarding way to earn a livelihood.

Read more about Monmouthshire livestock farmer Livy Braid