Richard Charmley is a tenant on a 73ha (180-acre) dairy unit at Ightfield near Whitchurch in Shropshire which supports 130 Holstein Friesian.
THIS has been a bit of a quiet month work wise, leaving time to follow the Lions rugby. I watched the last match in a local pub, and hitched a friendly lift home in the local police riot van (you should have seen Caroles face; I am still trying to gain brownie points back).
It seemed the appropriate time to take a day off, so off I went on an AI refresher course as we felt there was room for improvement. Our Herdwatch showed that of 102 cows served, 45% held to first service, with 62% of the 52 cows served at second service holding.
After spending all day at the abattoir, it transpired that by pulling my AI gun back 2mm a 15% improvement on first service may be achieved. It was an excellent day, well worthwhile, and should be done every two years to correct any bad habits.
We have noticed a lot of cows with runny noses in the past few weeks. Don the vet said a box of tissues was not the answer and suggested we vaccinated them for IBR. After doing this it was decided that we needed a better handling facility and on my trip to the Royal Show I purchased a self-locking yolk to fit the end of our cattle race.
This year I arrived home from the show a good two hours earlier as I had read the map instead of following a coach with Carlisle on the boot, which happened to be on an outward journey southbound.
The weather delayed second cut silage by two weeks, we eventually cut on Fri, July 4 and left it to dry on Saturday, picking up on Sunday. We were unable to spread it as everybody wanted the contractor at once, so we used Add-F acid at three litres to the tonne hoping for at least 25% dry matter.
We did not have enough fertiliser in store so we paid a local contractor £90/t including spreading and applied three bags of 25:55 an acre, which made my early fertiliser buying seem expensive.
This week has been spent topping all the grazing ground with our trusty two-drum mower. It is a bit slow but does a good clean job, and what bit of swath that is left the cows either kick about or eat.n
Richard Charmley has vaccinated the dairy herd against IBR – and on the grazing front he has been topping to maintain sward quality.