Farmer Focus: It’s not regenerative ag but it works for us

I was going to say Carlsberg don’t do harvests, but they probably do. The brewery is certainly worth a tour if you visit Copenhagen. 

Anyway, 2021 must go down as one of the best harvests we’ve ever had in this part of the country. Everyone I’ve spoken to locally has reported great yields of both grain and straw.

I’m sure it will all be needed given the way input prices are going. If this is global warming though, I like it.

See also: How one dairy farm moved to a regenerative grazing system

About the author

Colin Murdoch
Ayrshire farmer and zero grazer Colin Murdoch switched from Holsteins to milking 225 Jerseys in 2019. The 182ha farm grows 40ha of winter and spring barley for a total mixed ration and parlour fed system supplying Graham’s Family Dairy.
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We do all our cultivations ourselves, so early September was spent in a tractor ploughing prior to winter barley. 

I’m afraid we’re not very “regenerative” as the plough is followed by a combination drill, but it works for us.

I always question the margins of growing the crop, especially this year, but I find it a good way of incorporating plenty of muck and slurry into the soil prior to going back into grass.

Our rotation is usually seven or eight years of grass followed by three of grain.

As we head into autumn, all stock is still outside grazing a flush of fresh grass after the rain at the start of August, followed by some very hot days. 

Grass growth for zero grazing has been exceptional for the past few weeks. If it doesn’t get too wet, we will be able to maintain the current level of 40kg fresh weight of grass a head well into October. 

Youngstock have done well with the sun on their backs all summer, so it will be interesting to see growth rates once we bring them in and weigh at housing.

It’s hard to believe, but we’ve started drying cows off again ready for their third lactation. It’s been a very quick two years since we made the swap from Holsteins to Jerseys.

I’m also really looking forward to getting the first heifers that were born here into the parlour, with the first 30 due to calve next month at an average age of 23 months.

The other 120 aren’t due until February and March but we are not going to have enough space to keep them all.