Richard Hinchion

13 October 2000

Richard Hinchion

Richard Hinchion milks 60

dairy cows and rears 40

replacements on 34ha (83

acres) at Crookstown, west

of Cork city, in southern

Ireland. With a fixed quota

of just over 300,000 litres,

the emphasis is on low-cost

production. Cows yield

6000 litres from 650kg of


LOOKING back, September has been a mild month and despite much rain in the second half, we recorded grass growth rates in excess of 60kg DM/ha in the first half, which is ahead of the 10-year average.

Towards the end of month it slipped back to 40kg DM/ha due to cold, frosty nights. These growth rates are much better than we had in late July and early August.

We cut 2.4ha (6 acres) for baled silage to reduce our rotation to 30 days in early September. With hindsight, I should have cut 1ha (2.4 acres) more, as we now have a good wedge of grass built up for winter.

Currently, cows are on a 40-day rotation, but the ground is wet and this is leading to poor grass use. We plan to start our last rotation on Oct 10 and hope the weather improves so that paddocks will be cleaned up for spring.

Our cows are now yielding 17 litres on 2kg of citrus pulp and grass. We feel it makes good sense to feed this, considering the current milk price and we are on target to meet quota.

We achieved 590 litres/cow in September at 4.01% butterfat and 3.52% protein. We received a further 0.3p/litre (IR 2p/gal) increase in August milk price. So our milk price for August was 19p/litre (IR£1.12/gal)for 3.86% butterfat and 3.42% protein.

This month will see us clipping cows udders and tails for winter, along with hoof-paring lame cows.

Weanlings and in-calf heifers will be fed 1kg of concentrate from now so they meet target weight. I plan to weigh a cross-section of both groups to see how they are performing and we will test two cuts of silage to calculate a winter feed programme for various animal groups.

I was stunned to read the disastrous fertility figures from the Dairy Research Unit at Moorepark, Cork. Over 20% of cows were infertile in both medium and high genetic merit herds.

This is worrying because these animals were well fed on grass and concentrates. Lets hope my infertility rate stays at 10% and doesnt start surging upwards like our inflation rate this year. &#42

Richard Hinchion wishes he had cut another 1ha of big-baled silage.

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