Farmer Focus: Into October and grass cover still excellent

It’s been an amazing year for growing grass in sunny Ayrshire.

In late September growth was still around 50kg dry matter (DM)/ha a day and average farm cover was more than 2,450kg DM/ha.

We started putting silage into the ration when rain was forecast in late September. This was to maintain cow condition and retain grass in the ration to November. It looks like silage clamps will have leftovers again next year.

See also: How to set your grazing up for next spring

The cows have not been yielding as well this year. I’m wondering if cutting back concentrate at peak is flattening their lactation too much.

However, we should catch up in October with plenty of grass around to keep the milk flowing.

The extra autumn-calving cows should help keep the milk going over Christmas when our supply usually falls off.

Cull cows have remained a great trade this year. It’s been great to see UK consumers enjoying and demanding British beef.

Dairy beef is the success story through this difficult year. We can supply the needs of the UK market efficiently and with fantastic products.

The results for most using sexed semen are now nearly comparable to conventional. The increased usage of sexed semen will drive efficient beef supply for years to come.

Soil samples show pH mostly around 6.2, so it looks like prilled calcium is going to be the way forward.

We are finding a 6.5 pH could be the sweet spot for the calcium-magnesium balance. We still need to push sulphur and aeration throughout the farm.

We have been using digestate to build potassium and phosphate levels, but we are now getting nearer the indices we want and don’t want to lock up nutrients with too much organic matter sitting around.

This is setting us up for a big push with clover going forward next year, to reduce inputs and improve DM intakes.

Is everyone becoming more introverted this year as we all shun parties and enjoy more “me time”?

I have to feel sorry for my eldest, who had great plans to immerse himself in young farmers, only to have any chance of a bash pulled.

We even had the police at our door because one lad had threatened to have a birthday party on social media.

Read more about Ayrshire dairy farmer Wallace Hendrie

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