While the weather has been pretty horrendous for the last four or five days, there is better weather on the way.
High pressure and very high daytime temperatures, up to 16°C is forecast for early this week. It’s set to get a little cooler but still remain dry later in the week.
This is really good news as it means nearly all farmers should be able to get back out grazing this week.
For most farmers on good ground they are able to keep cows out day and night already, but conditions are much trickier on heavy land as they are slower to dry out.
Getting cows back out to grass is priority number one. During the last spell of good weather some farmers were slow to let cows out by night with the result that they got very little area grazed and didn’t make full use of the opportunity.
Don’t let this happen this time, if conditions are suitable go grazing night and day. Continue to graze lower covers in order to increase the area grazed.
Sticking with grazing, the next priority stock for turnout should be maiden heifers. These won’t be gaining much liveweight in the shed and need to be turned out to grass as soon as possible.
Remember to give these animals a blackleg booster vaccine jab before going back out to grass.
Farmers that are tight on space for dairy calves will consider letting out the oldest calves this week, either to a sheltered paddock or to a field with access to a shed.
Calves will be perfectly healthy outdoors once they have a dry lie and access to milk, water and roughage such as meal and straw.
Some people are considering spreading fertiliser for silage ground. Early April is usually sufficient for main first cut taken in late May and early June.
However, silage destined to be cut in early May will need to be fertilised shortly.
There are six weeks to go to the May bank holiday weekend. Spreading 2,500 gallons/acre of slurry and perhaps 60 to 70 units/acre of nitrogen should be sufficient for an early May cut of high quality silage.
Farmers that intend cutting silage in late May and early June should aim to get a grazing taken off this area and be fully closed and fertilised by 14 April.