Wet humid weather still prevails as we head towards the end of our summer.
Grass is growing ahead of normal and we continue to take out surplus paddocks for silage. This keeps grass quality right and we have the added bonus of very good quality feed for next winter. The good growth here is in contrast to a large part of the UK where we saw severe drought on a visit with our farm discussion group.
The wet weather has made silage making difficult but cows are milking well although proteins have fallen back under 3.7%. This is probably a reflection on grass quality despite our best efforts at keeping it right. We have reduced cow numbers due to quota restrictions and this has made grass management more difficult.
We scanned our heifers and 4% were not in-calf after an eight-week breeding programme. We were very pleased with this as we have put a big emphasis on our heifer rearing programme over the last two years. Cows will be scanned at the end of August and we hope for good results with them also as we have seen very little activity since we took the bulls out.
Our calves are progressing well. There is no doubt in our minds that weaning them on weight – 85 kg for jersey crosses – has made a big difference. In these humid conditions we are dosing them every three weeks.
Our visit to the UK was a big success and as always we were given a great welcome everywhere we went. Many lessons were learned; once-a-day milking gives us options as we move towards the end of quotas, having the right cow for the system and above all applying good management to make it all work.
Livestock Farmer Focus: Jim Dwyer