Farmer Focus: Grass growth now bouncing after rain

Calving is completed for another season. The focus shifted to serving some time ago and getting the cows back in-calf. 

Our ability to maintain a tight calving block is the cornerstone to our system. It is integral to the spring grazing management and days in milk for the season, as well as being one of the biggest profit drivers. 

We have metri-checked all the cows throughout March, which ensures cows have cleansed properly and are clear of any infection. 

Cows showing problems have been presented to the vet, rechecked and treated.

Our preference is to avoid antibiotics use where possible, so cows with moderate to mild problems have been given an injection to stimulate their own cleansing process, while severe cases have been treated with Cephapirin.

See also: 3 steps to get spring-calving cows back in calf quickly

Cows were all tail painted just over three weeks before the start of serving.

Anything that hasn’t rubbed the day before serving and may not be cycling will be assessed and some will be put onto once-a-day milking.

This should help them correct any energy imbalances and encourage them to start bulling. They will run with the bulls from day one and the remainder will be served by AI. 

We started serving in late April and all cows were given fresh tail paint on 29 April.

Cows have been bulling well, with not many non-cycling cows, so the signs are positive.

Grass growth has been nice and steady, keeping just above our demand. It didn’t boom during April – perhaps held back by cold nights or lack of rain.

However, rain arrived last week and grass growth is now bouncing. I anticipate some fields may get too strong before we get to them with the cows.

We will likely reseed a field or two, as most leys are now five years old and we would do well to be able to take out 10% of the platform for reseeding in a season.

By the time I sit down to write my next article, hopefully our family will have welcomed the arrival of a baby girl and I will be well and truly outnumbered with three daughters in the house.