Farmer Focus: New dairy progressing but no time to weigh lambs

Well this past month has been a bit of a blur and I can’t fit everything into this column.

As I write this, the new rotary has been getting fitted for 11 days now and the platform is complete, with all the stall work on.

The next job is to install the milking equipment, which will make the progress so far look much slower. There is also some wiring to do.

The collecting yard is complete, the printing is done for the non-slip surface and looks brilliant after we had to come up with a batching method for the concrete due to a lack of concrete barrel mixers around our area.

But between the concreting crew, concrete supplier and my dad, they managed to come up with a successful idea.

See also: Is herd expansion the answer to dairy profitability? The options assessed

We have also got the main run of slats and channels fitted along between the sheds and enough cubicle head posts in for approximately 100 cubicles.

Meanwhile, Xchanger has got a fair bit of its pipework fitted. This is a glycol heat exchange system taking heat from milk and using it as heat energy.

The joiner has clad 90% of the front of the building as well, but aside from all of the building developments, we were relieved to pass our four-yearly bTB test. This is always a nerve-racking time and we can only imagine how tough it is for farmers in areas with a bTB problem. 

Cow production has been lifting and it’s gone over 36l a day since we followed our nutritionist’s recommendations.

However, we have had a dip in milk components. We are just below butterfat levels of 4% for the first time in quite a while. 

Alongside all of that we have weaned the lambs off the fell and they have come in looking very well, although they’ll not be finished any time soon.

The fell is a rough hill and the grazing up there is fairly low in nutritional value.

However, they are now on some silage aftermath. Normally we would have weights at weaning for all the lambs but with all the building going on, time for jobs like that has been very difficult to come by.

Patrick Morris-Eyton is a Farmer Focus writer from Cumbria. Read his biography.