Farmer Focus: Mild winter could mean fertiliser time soon

No news is good news for us at this time of year.

It means drying off went smoothly and without any adverse effects to selective dry cow therapy.

The weather has been benign enough to not cause issue, the Christmas party was without drama and the cows are happily enjoying their downtime while the team are also maximising a less demanding routine.

See also: Are fertility monitors worthwhile in block calving herds?

Before Christmas, the focus was mainly on getting prepared and set up for the two and a half weeks of minimal work and maximum time off for everyone. 

For the Christmas do we all enjoyed a day out with a RIB (rigid inflatable boat) ride down the Menai Straits.

It was exhilarating and also fascinating to see parts of the island that are hidden away from the roads. After that we went out for a meal and a night out.

Getting everyone off farm and socialising in a different environment is always well worthwhile, and a good reward for the hard work the team has put in.

I’m delighted for Kieran who passed his driving test at the first time of asking. The intensive course and a bit of focus did the trick.

Normal routine resumed last week, which was the final week before pre-calving cow work gets under way.

Much of our fodder crops off farm will be finished by the middle of the month so cows will start returning to the farm.

We will have our salmonella and rotavirus vaccines to administer along with the annual TB test.

A close calving group will be made and monitored closely, in-calf heifers will be walked through the parlour and fed a bit of feed each day to familiarise them with coming in, and calf sheds will have been disinfected and set up ready.

We measured the grass and soil-tested the whole farm last week. Ground conditions are excellent, and all evidence of the autumn grazing has disappeared.

Fields have enjoyed good growth since the last grazing between the start of October and the end of November. With the mild temperatures, good ground conditions and decent soil temperatures, it feels like time to get some fertiliser down.

Johnjo Roberts is a Farmer Focus writer on Anglesey. Read his biography.