16 August 2002


Clyde Jones

Clyde Jones manages two

200-cow herds on a

dairy/arable farm near

Dorchester in Dorset. One

herd is spring calving and

the other, late autumn

calving. Both are managed

using New Zealand farming

techniques over 140ha

(350 acres) of chalkland

MY PREDICTION that the school holidays would be dry was worryingly true for a while. In fact, I thought I might be pleading for rain via the column, but it arrived just in time.

The grass stood up to the drought well and continued growing at 50kg DM/day, which is good on this chalkland with thin soil covers. The average cover is high at 2500kg/DM/ha and looking good for extending the grazing rounds into autumn.

We will also have an extended calving period next year, as fewer cows held at the beginning of service. Bulls are still in the herds and are now victims of their own success, as they only have the odd repeater to serve.

This is an important year for fertility. We have made the final transition from autumn calving to spring at Clandon which means we wont be able to move cows around anymore.

The meadow near the village that we used to grow maize on has grown a brilliant crop of grass. We cut this for silage and got a bumper yield. The aftermath has grown into the best looking summer grass Ive seen for years. The only problem was, milk yield went down when we grazed it.

We have come to the end of an era this month, as students from Kingston Maurward will no longer be assisting us in the afternoons. Their course has intensified and they need more time in the classroom. We wish them all the best for the future.

Hopefully, we have shown a few that there is a future in dairying with less stress for all concerned and time to have a life. The down sides being that you start early in the morning and its not wise to yawn while milking.

There have been funny goings on in our fields of late. Occasionally, we find evidence that a person has visited our water troughs. The evidence is some dirty discarded trousers, a dirty paper – and I dont mean FWs Muck supplement – and a bar of soap.

This is the third year it has happened and despite the addition of magnesium, bloat guard, molasses and soluble copper based minerals, we have not managed to deter them from using our facilities. &#42

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