Sunshine has helped grass growth, writes Jim Dywer

The weather in April was the best we have seen for many years. A lot of sunshine and warm nights have given us great growth rates and great ground conditions for maximum grass use.

The result has been good milk yields and good solids with a protein above 3.4% and fat above 4.15%, which will give us a good milk price in a month when milk volumes are high.

Cows have been off concentrates since mid April and magnesium is fed by dusting the pastures. The country narrowly avoided paying a quota fine, but with the year starting off so good for milk production we will have to be aware of quota problems in the present year.

Cow condition is holding well, but we feel the cow’s coats have disimproved and we intend to worm again before breeding starts. We did this last year and cow condition and milk output improved. We have sent dung samples to the lab to monitor worm count and hopefully it will confirm we have a good parasite control programme.

Fodder beet has been sown and grass reseeding taken place in ideal conditions. Farming life is so much easier when the weather is in our favour.

By the time you read this heifer breeding will have started with cows starting on 10 May. This is a really busy time for us between inseminating cows and constant heat detection.

We have set ourselves a target of 90% submission rate in the first three weeks of breeding and with good cow condition and favourable weather conditions it should lead to compact calving next spring. This is vital for maximum use of grazed grass next spring.

We took a few days off over Easter to recharge the body after the calving season and see other things that go on in the world outside farming.

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