Farmer Focus: Patience for move to three-times milking daily

Happy New Year. I hope the festive period treated everyone well.

We have started the new year well. The cows are looking good and they have had a couple of months to settle into the new shed.

The new Hoofcount footbath has resulted in lameness rates dropping drastically, which is great.

There is still a bit of white line damage, but with there being a lot of new concrete about we expected that.

See also: What to consider when switching to three-times-a-day milking

All eight brushes in the cubicle shed are now working and the cows love them. Nearly every brush is in constant use.

We are eating into what we have left of the 2018 first cut silage, which is rocket fuel at 19.6% protein and D value of 11.5.

Our butterfat had crashed a little, just with all the changes, but is now coming back towards where we need it to be.

Milk is getting there but we’re still looking for a couple more litres in the near future. I’d like to see a bit more milk before we switch to three-times-a-day milking.

We don’t want to push milk up too fast and cause the butterfat to crash and fertility to suffer, so we aren’t rushing it, but we are getting there.

Fertility is good and we have nearly caught up with all the cows that slipped back a bit due to the changes of both the new herd arriving and then the new sheds and parlour.

We have struggled a little with our calves over the past few months, with more pneumonia than ever before.

The changeable damp weather certainly hasn’t helped and we look to be getting on top of the issue now, so fingers crossed we can keep it going the right way.

The ewes seemed to tup up well and are currently enjoying being back up on the fell with little to disturb them and the freedom to move and find food and shelter as required.

We will be scanning before my next article so hoping for good results. Then we will keep the twin-bearing ewes in-bye to reduce the pressure of the weather and poor forage on them.

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