Kevin Daniel has a mixed lowland holding near Launceston, Cornwall. The 65ha (160 acres) farm and 20ha (50 acres) of rented ground supports 70 Simmental cross suckler cows, 380 Border Leicester cross Suffolk ewes and 28ha (70 acres) arable.
FOUR cows were sent on the over-30-month scheme beating the Aug 4 deadline with a few days to spare. These cows were in fact not due to be slaughtered until the autumn after their calves had been weaned, but with a likely loss of income of £150 a head, their mothers were sent up the road and the calves have been given access to creep feed.
Seventy cows and heifers were scanned in mid-July, 10 weeks after the bulls were introduced. With the scanner able to detect a pregnancy from 30 days, 64 were confirmed pregnant, due to calve from mid-February to end of March. I am always very pleased to have cows confirmed in calf, as a tight calving pattern is essential to the management of the herd. The remaining six will be rescanned at a later date. While the cows and calves were in the yard, the calves all received two trace-element boluses and for the first time as an experiment, we used Autoworm Big 6 boluses. At first £8 a head for the worming bolus seems extravagant, but provided the calves are housed by Nov 1, they will not need a housing dose and regular worming for the rest of the summer should result in heavier calves at weaning. Calves have grown well with a range of weights from 180 to 260kg.
Lamb growth weight however has been disappointing, with only 12 lambs so far reaching slaughter weight. With a proportion of lambs having dirty tails, dung and blood samples were sent from a random selection for analysis. The result showed a high level of gut worms and coccidiosis and a shortage of copper in the blood. All lambs have now been dosed with Oramec wormer and bolused with a copper capsule. Mineral tubs containing Deccox have been placed around the pasture for the ewes and lambs to help control the coccidiosis infection.
The third week in July saw 20 acres of second cut silage clamped in blistering hot conditions, which resulted in about 100t of high dry matter silage to add to the 500t of first cut. The same week saw the first field of winter barley cut to yield a pleasing 2.8t of grain to the acre and 120 bales of straw. Hopefully, by the time this report is printed, the remaining 30 acres will have been harvested with stubbles ploughed and drilled with either stubble turnips or reseeded with an Italian/perennial ryegrass mixture. With plenty of lambs to finish this autumn, good crops will be need to avoid concentrate feeding. *
Seventy cows and heifers were scanned in mid July, 10 weeks after the bulls were introduced.