Farmer Focus: Calving resumes and tupping over

I hope you all had a brilliant festive period and a happy new year to you. December was kind here, with the weather being warm and dry for the time of year.

The grass is continuing to grow and anywhere that has had a slurry application is growing very well.

However, mild weather is causing us problems in the calf shed. There have been a few more cases of pneumonia due to a few warm damp days with little or no air movement outside the shed.

Meanwhile, the milking herd has improved drastically with condition improving and yield climbing back up to between 33 and 34 litres since a few nutritional changes.

See also: How to use genomics to improve dairy economic performance

The cows themselves look happier and are settled, with cleanliness massively improved.

We have had a quiet period with regards to calving. We try to have a couple of weeks break over Christmas and new year with few or no new calves to ease the workload for everyone, but today as I write this in early January we have started again with an Angus-cross calf and a Holstein heifer.

The sheep have finished their time with the tups. We only give them 34 days with the tup to try and shorten lambing and allow us to finish 95% of them by first-cut silage in the first 10 days of May.

Fingers crossed for a good scan this year, it is looking promising as there weren’t many repeats across the flock, but time will tell.

I was lucky enough to be sponsored by the Westmorland County Agricultural Society to attend The Oxford Farming Conference 2019 as a scholar.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time there listening to the wonderful and varied array of speakers, as well as meeting many people in the industry and having a great time with the rest of the attending scholars.

My stand-out moment of the conference was Sir Lockwood Smith talking about his view on Brexit and the opportunities Britain has if it is handled correctly, but also the risk if not. @beckside_farm

Patrick Morris-Eyton is a new Farmer Focus writer. Read his biography.