Farmer Focus: Cow yields hit 38 litres – the best yet

The past month has seem a bit of a return to normality here. We got first-cut silage done a couple of days after my last article. It was a bigger crop than we expected but the quality was still there.

This will be opened on 10 June so we can fill the other pit with second cut as soon as we get a weather window.

The last few days of on-off rain has been welcome and it has freshened everything up. Hopefully it will help to bulk the silage out, although it is about to race to head if we can’t cut it in the next few days.

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The cows are flying. We have gone up four litres in five days due to moving from a chunk of 2019 fourth-cut silage to 2019 first-cut. The cows did an average of 38 litres a head today, which is the best we have managed.

We had a very good pregnancy scan session a fortnight ago with our pregnancy rate starting to hit our targets in the mid 20s. We have another session tomorrow so fingers crossed for another good day.

On 2 June we decided to risk it and shear all the fell twin ewes. This is about three weeks to a month earlier than normal for us, but on the whole they clipped well and the Highlander cross shearlings looked very well and are holding their flesh well compared with the Swale ewes in the same field.

The ewes had a bit of a pinch for grass in the week or so before shearing because of the lack of rain on the fields and increased cattle youngstock numbers.

We have dealt with this by opening 50 acres of silage, because we already have 50% of our requirement conserved due to a big first cut and we still have another two cuts to go after this one.

I hope everyone is staying safe in the situation that we find ourselves having to negotiate.

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