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
HEAVY rain has recently made grazing conditions difficult, dictating the decision to house all cattle under five months. The remaining replacements are out but require additional feed in the form of baled grass silage and oat straw.
The milking herd is still receiving 5-6kg DM of grazed grass after morning milking before having a strip of kale. The only exception to this is on days of rain. Then the cows are turned directly into the kale in order to keep grass sward damage to a minimum. They are then returned to the yard to receive 7kg DM of maize before milking. Following this, they have access to 20 acres of Italian ryegrass as a loafing area, which will be ploughed in the spring in preparation for next years kale crop.
To my horror last Thursday I went out to start milking to find the parlour pit flooded under five inches of water. This had been caused by the collecting yard drain becoming blocked and rainwater backing up into the pit.
Having unblocked the drain and shouted abuse at my sister while accusing her of blocking the drain, I thought all my troubles were over. Unfortunately, the electrics in the milk pump had become wet and when in use caused the power to trip.
It first came to mind to try and dry the electrical connections with a couple of hairdryers but to no avail and the fitter had to be called out to put in a temporary replacement. Milking was not finished until 10.30am, luckily we were not due for collection that morning.
Maize silage analysis was returned this week and I am very pleased with the results, with starch levels being higher than previous years at 34.8%. The remainder of the analysis is as follows: Dry matter, 29.9%: D value, 74%: ME, 11.6 MJ/kg: Crude protein, 9.3%.
The cows seem to be milking fairly well with protein level rising to 3.5% with no additional starch in the ration.
Although wet, the weather has been exceptionally mild. The young cattle we housed are being watched carefully for virus pneumonia as one had to be treated last week. Hopefully, keeping them well-bedded with a low stocking rate and good air flow will keep this to a minimum.n
Peter Wastenages maize silage analysis has just come back, and he is pleased to find starch levels at 34.8%, higher than in previous years.