Richard Hinchion milks 60
dairy cows and rears 40
replacements on 34ha (83
acres) at Crookstown, west
of Cork city, in southern
Ireland. With a fixed quota
of just over 300,000 litres,
the emphasis is on low-cost
production. Cows yield
6000 litres from 650kg of
THIS years grass growing season has been either a feast or a famine, with periods of fabulous growth as well as periods of little or none.
Wet summer weather is continuing, but it is mild and muggy and conducive for potato blight as well as good grass growth. In the first week of July we experienced growth rates of over 80kg /DM/ha which is above the 10-year average.
We came out of our grass shortage quite well and now grass is getting out of control, so we round baled 2ha (5 acres) of strong, stemmy grazing. This will improve grass quality for our next round.
Cows are milking well and were yielding 26 litres in early July, on 1.5kg of concentrate. Despite grass shortages in June, cows produced 850 litres each off 100kg of concentrates. So far we have fed 450kg of concentrate up to Jun 30 and are pleased with protein percentages of 3.57% for last month.
With improved dairy market returns Dairygold Milk Co-operative has increased prices by 0.17p a litre. Which gives us a gross milk price of over 18p/litre for May milk with 3.58% butterfat and 3.31% protein. Who knows, we might get another penny next month.
We were delighted with recent pregnancy scanning results, showing only three out of 30 cows not in-calf. These were injected to get them cycling immediately. We plan to finish breeding on Jul 23.
Calves are being fed 1kg of coarse meal mix and short grass of 14-18 days growth. We used worm boluses again this year, and although expensive at £7.10/calf they are handy, automatic and labour friendly.
On Apr 1, I lost 27,200 litres of a privately leased milk quota. But with 32m litres sold into the Milk Restructuring Scheme and 273m litres sold nationally, we were delighted to receive a white envelope allowing us to purchase over 13,600 litres at 24p/litre.
Combined with 3100 litres of free milk under Agenda 2000 proposals, this brings my quota up to 303,600 litres – 6819 litres more – equivalent to one more cow – than in recent years.
Lets hope the weather improves for the second cut silage and more importantly our annual family holiday. *
Wet and muggy weather has been good for grass growth, but Richard Hinchion hopes it improves for his familys annual summer holiday.