Farmer Focus: Hair and grass both growing well

Ayrshire is still having a lovely time in the heat at time of writing in mid-June. I have now managed to sneak out for a wee garden party at the neighbour’s for an even smaller dram.

Grass is growing nicely for the time of year, averaging 45 and 75kg DM/ha growth for the last week on both platforms. We have been hitting 90kg and more over the last month, which is fantastic for this time of year.

Second-cut silage has now just started at the autumn unit, and we are on course to get one pit finished before the rain.

See also: What causes silage clamp slippage and how to avoid it

Second cut is probably heavier than first. The Met Office App has made a huge difference, giving us real-time forecasts which in our variable climate is crucial.

Fertility on both spring herds is the big effort now. We’ve used about 60 progesterone inserts this year on non-cycling cows to bring them into the calving block.

We have also brought forward week three of AI into week two using prostaglandin and notes from all our pre-mating heat detection. Hopefully results will be reasonable as our return rate has been low this year, probably due to the good weather.

The big test will be scanning in two weeks’ time, but never mind. The bulls go in next week and the pressure comes off, although it is always a challenge managing to keep them mobile.

The year-end March figures are in from the discussion group and everyone’s figures are looking strong. We have benefited from more milk from forage across all the herds, and even the youngstock have thrived with less concentrate.

We have fed more to calves this spring as we have taken calves up to weaning. The bonus is no calves are being exported and our Friesian calves are finding value.

I have just spent a fortune on electric fencing as we are going to start allocating grass to calves this summer.

Covid-19 is taking its toll on my appearance. I now look like the baddie from No Country for Old Men.

Getting to Arran for holidays this year might be a challenge. Suggestions so far extend to: helicopter, Rib (rigid inflatable boat), or the back of a cattle float. I think it may yet be the latter, as they are only taking key traffic but cattle trailers are allowed.


Read more about Ayrshire dairy farmer Wallace Hendrie