Farmer Focus: Staff meetings and tweaks to dry cow diets

What a festive period that was: lots of walking and very small amounts of alcohol – altogether very health conscious.

So, I’m not sure why we all feel so bored and bloated. Maybe it’s just “Blue Monday” setting in. 

What happened to Brexit? It came and went. After blaming Brussels for years, I feel a big test for the makers of red tape in Westminster will be to restrain from flexing those regulatory muscles.

See also: Brexit: ‘Serious loss’ in meat export trade

I worry that agriculture will not have enough strength when it comes to funding the expensive lobbyists that political influence seems to require these days.

The winter has passed relatively easily so far, with some wet days and hard frosts, and so we find ourselves a little more hopeful of a vaccine to bring a close to the malaise of 2020.

Cows have fared well this year on some good silages and now we prepare for calving. The spring herd is nearly all dried off now and cow condition is improving.

We will still need to alter groups again next week at the end of TB testing. We are looking at a different pre-calving routine this year using magnesium oxide rather than the pre-calver cake. This will, hopefully, be cheaper and more effective. 

The other issue is trying to get some poorer quality dry long fibre into the further away dry cows so that when they come home they have better intakes to consume more high-energy silage.

We seem to have huge silage stocks this year – they are just in the wrong places. We need to take some second cut down to the autumn herd and plans are afoot for a silage pit extension at one farm (Purroch) to remedy this problem.

This is a big week for communication: we have all had our own personal styles reviewed.

The outcome is that we will have more structured monthly meetings and reviewable targets for everyone.

This is going to be done alongside keeping a check on the meetings themselves, and making sure everyone is getting the information they need and the consultation has worked for them.

And here was me thinking telepathy was working beautifully!

We will soon have our AHDB strategic dairy meeting on fertility, so it will be good to finally get stuck into some of our issues.

Read more about Ayrshire dairy farmer Wallace Hendrie