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
AS I put pen to paper on Sept 1, the grass is literally jumping out of the ground at a rate of 60kg DM/ha, which is above average.
Lets hope this continues into late September, unlike last year when it became wet and cold and yields dropped rapidly.
By mid-August our grass shortage disappeared, and so did the round bales and the 4kg/head of citrus pulp that we were feeding. It now looks as if a few paddocks are running away from us, so we plan to take out 0.3ha grass (0.75 acre) to keep on a 30-day rotation.
Cows started eating silage after grass on Aug 16 and the next test showed a 1% increase in protein. Overall our August butterfat levels are 3.86% and 3.42% respectively, which should give a milk price of just under 19p a litre (IR109p/gal) next month.
We expect to finish 9ha (22 acres) of after grass by Sept 10, with cows producing 23 litres each on 0.5kg of citrus pulp. We expect them to drop back to 21 litres each when they go back on plain grass.
Last month we sent three cull cows to the meat factory at 137p/kg (IR80p/lb). They were fattened on grass and fetched a net price of £436 (IR£560) each, not bad.
By now most of harvest is completed and the millennium year brought bumper yields well in excess of 7.4t/ha (3t/acre).
Green barley at 20% moisture is fetching £59/t (IR£76/t) ex farm. We plan to buy 6t of dried barley from Dairy Gold blown into the feed house, so theres no labour or hassle involved for 81/t (IR£105/t).
This year we were lucky that we only had to cross our road to collect 300 small square bales for winter. In the main cereal growing area, farmers will have to burn straw due to poor demand.
The week prior to going on family holidays, four of our 47 cows decided they wanted out and decided to come back in heat.
These consisted of one first lactation heifer, two third lactation cows and one fourth lactation cow. I hope no more cows will want to go cycling on their bikes. *
The grass shortage at Richard Hinchions farm has disappeared with September growth increasing.