Farmer Focus: Grass growth at 50kg a day in mid-April

It’s business as normal in very abnormal times. I could easily write this piece 10 times over full of sentiments of gratitude, despair and condolence and likely resonate with the majority of people in one way or another.

However, social media is awash with Covid-19 stories good and bad, so I’ll try to stick with ‘normal’ and hope you are all keeping safe.

We are well into our second grazing round on the farm, with pre-grazing covers of 2,500kg DM/ha to 2,700kg DM/ha. Grass growth last week was a shade under 50kg DM a day and above our demand for the farm.

See also: How to maintain butterfats during spring/summer grazing

As a result, concentrates have been eased back with a view to feeding 3kg a head a day and grass intakes of circa 15kg DM a day. The cows are loving the dry weather and high dry matter content of the grass and are exceptionally content, even when working to hit residuals and clean up fields.

Bulling activity is excellent. Large bulling groups are clear to be seen every day and production is running at about 2.1kg milk solids a day.

Most of our field work has been completed in good time, with some fodder beet going in for next winter.

Last year’s wintering ground has been worked down and reseeded and the dirty water has been spread on some of the grazing. Having soil tested the farm, the benefit of the dirty water is evident in the P and K levels, so we are trying to spread it on some different fields.

This meant running the umbilical across the yard. It was working fine until a lost articulated lorry arrived in a blind panic having been stuck on narrow lanes for an hour. The lorry dragged the five-inch pipe across the yard and out of the ramp ready for the next car to arrive to try and cross it and put a gash right through it.

Serving is less than two weeks away as I write. Preparation work is complete with metri-checking done.

Prostaglandin has been given to 30 cows to help them clean naturally and no antibiotics (Cefapirin) have been given. We are trying to limit antibiotics use generally and particularly that one, as it is a first-generation cephalosporin antibiotic.

Johnjo Roberts is a Farmer Focus writer on Anglesey. Read his biography.