Farmer Focus: Yield down but feeling positive about new shed

I am writing this article the day after we put cows into our new shed for the first time. This always comes with a big sense of pride, but also a collective sigh of relief, as things go back to normal.

Although only half the size of the previous shed we built, these projects always come with decisions needing to be made on a daily basis. 

Our builder, Phil Richards, must take a lot of credit for making the process much easier as, thankfully, he is always two steps ahead. We now have an additional 35 cubicles and a small dry cow yard.

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The latter will help us greatly. Our expansion has meant our dry cow accommodation has been under pressure and it would be nice to resolve it before any issues occur. 

I even shocked myself with a bit of future-proofing. Not only had we drawn a map of the drains, but we even put a drain in ready for the new shed.

We are using the cubicles for the fresh cow group, which should see cows and heifers housed for about 40 days before they head into the main high-yielding group.

We have gone for a concrete heel stone kerb this time rather than angle iron. Aesthetically, it looks very similar and the cubicle measurements are the same, but unfortunately, I had a couple of cows lying half in and half out this morning.

They had spent plenty of time digging sand out of the beds last night so I am hoping that a sand top-up may solve this issue.

Away from the shed, milk has plateaued a little – dropping down to 31.5 litres a cow a day – which I am hoping is a little to do with disruption and overstocking, but it will also be down to finishing first and second cuts. 

Recent cold and dry weather saw us get out on the fields with slurry, which, without tempting fate, has set us up nicely going into the spring.

The fertiliser spinner will be getting the once-over this week, ready for the countdown to first cut. 

Read more about Shropshire farmer Henry Wilson