Farmer Focus: Covers need grazing, but rain won’t oblige

February was pretty wet, yet it keeps raining. My brother’s farm has a moat around it this morning.

This is a big week as I write. I’ve now managed a half century. I’ve more years behind than in front – nose hair, specs, forgetting more stuff, dodgy hips, false teeth, eek!

See also: App uses satellite tech to abolish need to measure grass

We need to get the cows out grazing, as grass covers are up to about 2,450kg dry matter/ha. We will struggle to get them grazed off, making the platform harder to manage and reducing overall grass yields.

Calving has been steady at an average of 10 animals a day. Not too many, but no slack days, which is working.

We have calved 204 up until 1 March, half of which are heifers. We will need to keep this pace up, so we have the bulk of the herd calved before we start artificial insemination. 

The cows are in better condition this year, which has meant colostrum quality is generally good. It’s been testing above 25% brix on our electric refractometer.

We found it worked better for testing as the colostrometer varied wildly with colostrum temperature.

Due to the wet weather, have started hauling extra silage down to the autumn herd for super safety. Like most of our animals, the best thing to save the budget is a sudden dose of grazed grass.

We’ve managed to acquire the materials to repair some tracks. Someone crushed up the local sandstone primary school building, so that should do the trick. And we got our hands on artificial turf to top that off after a wee roll.

It’s amazing how tracks sink after time. We should have put another foot of stone in at the start. The tracks laid with plenty of deep stone initially never need repairing.

I’m off to see the rugby against France this weekend. I might need to have some beer to stave off the agony of defeat.

That is if it’s still on and our French counterparts are allowed to travel due to the coronavirus.

Who would have thought a virus scientists think morphed from a wee bat in China would wreak so much havoc? 

Read more about Ayrshire dairy farmer Wallace Hendrie