Farmer Focus: Weather worsens, but machinery is biggest nightmare

Just in case we were getting carried away with having a good spell of weather this autumn, 75mm of rain in 48 hours has just given us a stark reminder of how quickly and drastically things can change.  

Regardless of this, conditions have definitely been favourable and grass growth has been good.

This gave a great boost to grass covers, as we started our last grazing round at the beginning of October.

Regrowth on the October-grazed paddocks has been strong, which is a great start to setting us up for spring, as this is effectively our milking cows’ diet for February.  

Our autumn grazing plan is fairly simple. We will graze 70% of the farm in October and the remainder in November before drying off.

See also: How sheep farmers can protect next year’s grass covers

It’s a great time for the team to get stuck in and focus on grazing management, with the use of break fences, managing round length, calculating feed availability on the allocated area and filling any feed deficits with silage.

They also have to ensure paddocks are grazed and cleaned out well to guarantee no dead matter is carried over the winter into next year. 

Other work in the past few weeks has involved weighing, dosing and vaccinating the youngstock, fence and water system maintenance and a heck of a lot of problem solving.  

In the past week we’ve had the in-parlour feeder apart four times, replaced the main water supply pump, ran on the generator for a day and went a bulk tank down due to a faulty breaker.

Then, to top it off, we were vehicle-less, as the quad going in for a service coincided with a mishap with the Gator, which took it off the road until parts arrived from Milan, of all places.

Through all of this the team has kept the milking routine on track, all our collections have gone without issue and grazing has stayed on track.

Now, we’re hoping for a simple and uneventful October and November up to drying off.  

Johnjo Roberts is a Farmer Focus writer on Anglesey. Read his biography.

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