Drying-off is upon us. With only five days left of this season at time of writing, and two paddocks left to graze, the team is counting down the days to some hard-earned and well-deserved lie-ins.
Grazing conditions have been good overall throughout November, thanks to our well-drained soils and good fortune to have missed the worst of the weather that caused the awful flooding elsewhere.
See also: 8 essential jobs when drying off cows
This has been helped by grazing out our wetter fields back in October.
Once our drying-off routine is complete, the cows will be making the short trip to the wintering areas and fed on a diet of mainly grass silage and fodder beet.
Fodder beet in ration
Cows have been getting fodder beet for the past three weeks, which we have been spreading on the grazing through a rear-discharge spreader. It has worked amazingly well, with the chopped-up pieces sitting nicely on top of the grass allocation.
This has served to help with the animals’ transition to the beet, and will allow us to offer a good amount of beet to them from the start.
Cows are going into wintering in great condition and I anticipate this will allow them to put fat on in the build-up to calving. This means we will most likely have to monitor cows to prevent them getting overconditioned.
Following on from my previous article, I am delighted to report that Kieran successfully passed his theory test and so, true to our word, his crash driving course and test are booked, hopefully resulting in him driving (himself) home for Christmas.
I find this period of the year to be quite pivotal in terms of mindset. Up to now, things have been very routine, with a focus on milking and the last round management. However, we will now have a flurry of activity – drying cows off, dosing, bolusing and vaccinating and then moving cows to winter homes.
Our minds then switch to a new routine. We quickly run into Christmas and the new year, and then set up for calving and doing it all over again. All with time to spare to nip to the polling booths for the political saga to roll on to its next chapter.
Johnjo Roberts is a Farmer Focus writer on Anglesey. Read his biography.