Peter Wastenage, in
partnership with his parents,
farms a 121ha (300-acre)
farm tenanted from Clinton
Devon Estates. He milks
175 cows, rears his own
replacements and grows
40ha (100 acres) of maize
OUR first field of kale was finished on Oct 20, cultivated and planted with grass.
Although that is a month later than I would have liked, the seeds are all up, but we will have to wait and see what the quality of the crop is like in spring.
It is the first week of November at the time of writing, and all the followers remain out at grass. Three- to four-month-old weaned calves are having 1kg of concentrate a head a day, but as soon as grass availability and the weather deteriorate they will be wormed and housed.
The milking herd continues to have plenty of grass available to them, the ration consisting of a small patch of grass after morning milking. This area is relatively small to ensure tight grazing in preparation for the winter. When the paddock is considered not to be grazed sufficiently dry cows are put in to reduce sward height to the desirable level.
After this a strip of kale is fed. The field we are grazing has lodged to quite a high degree resulting in 2-3ft of the stem being rejected. I hope this will not cause problems with spring cultivations.
Before afternoon milking the cows come back to the farm for 7kg DM a head of maize silage and a paddock of grass is being fed after milking.
All concentrate is given within the parlour, with fresh calvers receiving 5kg a day, dropping back to zero when yield falls to below 15 litres a cow in late lactation. During the summer an 18% protein concentrate has been fed but as the inclusion of maize in the diet increases it will be returned to a 30% concentrate.
The main job in the past week has been completing hedge cutting around the farm and replacing electric polywire, which runs around the fields, with 2.5mm solid wire. This has resulted in a stronger electric supply getting to the whole farm, as the polywire was starting to perish in some areas.n
Peter Wastenage is strip grazing his milking cows on spring sown kale, but lodging is causing 2-3ft of the stem to be rejected.