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
BELIEVE it or not, we are experiencing fabulous autumn weather.
So much so that it was the warmest October for the past 45 years, with temperatures up by 2C.
This mild, dry spell brought a surge in grass growth with average rates of 30kgDM/ha.
This helped build our grass wedge. As I write, on Nov 2, cows are still grazing full-time, shortening grass in preparation for next spring. We may have to consider regrazing some paddocks closed in early October, as they have high grass cover. To date, we have fed no silage or brought animals indoors at night. This must be a record for us.
We dried off 16 cows including early-calving heifers. Some high cell count young cows were treated with antibiotics 2-3 days before receiving dry cow tubes. These were dried on grass, which is a bonus.
The 31 milking cows are receiving 1.5kg of 16% protein ration and yielding 15.7 litres a day. Cows produced 500 litres each for October at 4.19% fat and 3.76% protein. We plan to milk up to Dec 1 before completely drying off, as quota is beginning to bite.
We received a net milk price for September of 20.6p/litre at 4.03% fat and 3.61% protein, but reckon our 2001 protein will be back on 2000s figure of 3.39%.
I sold my eight 18-month old bullocks in early October. They averaged 505kg, making UK78p/kg, which I was happy with.
We began feeding in-calf heifers on 1kg of winter ration at £101/t in mid-October. These will remain outside until mid-November.
Calves are also receiving 1kg of ration and grazing a reseeded silage paddock which rabbits also grazed. Weather was ideal and grass has grown well.
We are awaiting silage test results, which I expect to show high quality silage, but I will wait and see.
I have just been invited to speak at a national dairy breeding conference in late November. Preparation for the talk will keep me occupied this month. *
Excellent autumn weather has kept grass growing, so cows have remained out full-time well into November, says Richard Hinchion.