Farmer Focus: On top of ventilation and mastitis issues

In typical farmer style we managed to do our fourth-cut silage the day before the guests arrived for my youngest sister’s wedding celebrations – held in a marquee on the farm.

I was under strict instructions not to stir or spread slurry until after the weekend’s festivities were over.

I obliged, and I owe a massive thank you to all the team, who really put a big shift in to allow my parents and me time off for the wedding all weekend, even with our herdsman on holiday.

See also: Guide to slurry assessment and application

About the author

Patrick Morris-Eyton
Livestock Farmer Focus writer
Patrick farms 650 Swaledales bred to New Zealand Highlander tups and 350 predominantly Aberfield ewes put to Primeras and Aberfields across 250ha plus common fell grazing with parents Robert and Rowena near Millom, West Cumbria. The farm runs a 250-head Holstein herd averaging 10,000 litres supplying Arla and a Hydro Power and building business, Beckside Construction.
Read more articles by Patrick Morris-Eyton

There is a month left of our busiest calving period.

We have a lot of heifers due, but the ones we have been calving recently have been hitting the ground running, with the first-lactation animals averaging 38 litres and at least a quarter doing more than 40 litres a day.

A few have even passed the 50-litre mark.

Our biggest challenge these past few weeks of hot and humid weather has been mastitis.

Even with great ventilation in the shed and the beds seemingly dry we have had a couple more cases this month than we have seen for quite a while.

We also had a slight teething problem in the calf shed, which was always going to happen at some point.

The three extraction fans are set to come on in a biased order. However, the order was set incorrectly (through no one’s fault) and it took a little while to realise why the air at the end of the shed with individual pens was stuffy.

Now this has been sorted the air is cleaner and problems are nearly non-existent again, even with the high throughput of calves.

All lambs have been weaned. I weighed them a month after weaning and they are growing very well.

For the first time we have fell lambs ready to sell prime at the start of September, and 15% of the lambs will be ready by the end of the month.

It’s a long way ahead of where we would have been with Swales, which were mid-October at the earliest.