Farmer Focus: Ensuring good grass to graze proves tough

The warm spell of weather followed by the rain has resulted in exceptional grass growth over the past month.

This has given us the opportunity to cut some silage bales from surplus grass that was getting ahead of stock. 

In the current growing conditions, I have found it very difficult to keep stock grazing good-quality grass.

A major difficulty is that lots of paddocks and fields seem to be at the same stage. By now you would like to be in a good rotation with a grass wedge developed.

Personally I don’t like having to use a grass topper.

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I want the cattle to clean the grass off, but the difficulty is that when grass is too strong they won’t do this, and if you remove too much for silage you run out of grass.

So topping becomes an inevitable task to try to maintain some kind of sward quality.

See also: New breeding bulls busy after turnout

Our suckler calves have now all received their first clostridial and respiratory vaccinations.

This will be our first year vaccinating against respiratory pathogens.

The Charolais calves have also been dehorned.

Last year, we had some problems with mild pneumonia when we housed the calves, despite them being weaned and vaccinated before housing.

After discussions with our vet it was decided vaccinating against respiratory pathogens was the best way to in order to try and reduce pneumonia cases this winter.

The calves will require an infectious bovine rhinotracheitis vaccine, which will be given with the second respiratory vaccination shot.

All cattle on the land have received their first worming dose of the season.

Store cattle on the land receiving no meal supplementation have been given a mineral bolus, which has proved in previous years to help us achieve better daily liveweight gains.

Matthew Brownlee farms 121ha alongside his father. They run 100 Limousin-cross suckler cows and buy in-store cattle to finish.