Farmer Focus: Lots of focus on cows as dry-off approaches

Drying off is approaching and will take place in late November. A lot of our focus is on the cows in the lead up to this point. 

We milk recorded last week to get a final picture of the individual cell count position for selective dry cow therapy. It was an opportunity to identify any Johne’s cows prior to calving next year. 

From this data we took the decision to dry off the highest 20 cell count cows this week and have also just sent the remaining empty cows away. 

See also: How to dry off cows to treat mastitis successfully

With the weather taking a turn against us and with cows out grazing until December, it is nice to reduce stocking pressure on the grazing platform. 

To aid this further, in the next day or so we plan to dry off any early calvers that look as though they’ll benefit from an extra two weeks of being dry.

We put all our in-calf heifers through the crush last week and freeze branded, wormed, fluke dosed and bolused them. We also took the opportunity to weigh them and were pleased very few were below target weight for their age. 

Our heifer calves have been inside for a month now and, overall, have settled well, apart from more coughing than we would like in the lights. These were all weighed last week, re-batched and had their infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (IBR) vaccine.

This year is our first year of being fully geared up with EID tags in all our cattle. The use of a stick reader for all the stock work has made life much simpler, easier and faster. 

The accuracy of milk recording has been increased and the process of gathering weight data is much quicker.

Away from the cows, our barn conversion project is cracking on, with a target set for the roof to be on before Christmas and ready to use by May bank holiday.

With all that is going on beyond the farm gate it is nice to have a project on the go that is different to day-to-day work.

Johnjo Roberts farms on Anglesey. Read more here