We had a welcome drop of rain in Clara this week which will set us up for the next month or so for both grazing and silage.
Our first-cut silage fields should be easily ready now for cutting anytime from mid-May onwards and with growth rates driving on after the rain, we will be able to skip over a lot of grazing ground and hopefully put that into the pit as well.
We will wait for a nice weather window to cut, even if we have to wait a couple of weeks. We have last year’s first cut still in the pit, so we can afford to let the crop bulk up a small bit if necessary. We might also jump in and wrap some grazing paddocks to get some grass back in the rotation if the main cut is getting delayed too much.
The cows are bulling very well in the good weather, with just short of 90% submitted for AI in the first three weeks
After cutting the grazing paddocks, we will oversow some pelleted clover seed and give them a splash of slurry to try to get some more natural fertiliser working in some paddocks that are light on clover inclusion.
This has worked well for us over the last few years. We go little and often with the seed and try to build it up over multiple years without huge expense.
We have some paddocks with exceptional clover this year so we will back off with fertiliser a bit more and put a bit of pressure on the clover to deliver for us in those paddocks in particular. We will oversow the other paddocks that need a lift in clover and aren’t due for mowing as they are grazed if conditions allow through this month.
Cows are down to the minimum of 3kg meal feeding now for the next few weeks with plenty of grass in front of them. We will keep giving the 3kg to them to keep minerals right for the breeding season and to prevent grass tetany. We will drop this further after May if grass growth allows and freewheel as much as possible from there to the end of the year.
The cows are bulling very well in the good weather, with just short of 90% submitted for AI in the first three weeks. The repeats are coming through from the first week of breeding now but numbers look good enough so far. We will assess properly after another week or so.
The heifers will be due to repeat after their synchronisation programme over the next few days. We will watch the bulls closely to see that they are not under too much pressure. The heifers are grouped at 25 to a bull and with the synced heats coming on over three days, the repeats should stretch over five or six days so it shouldn’t get too intense.
The last of the Friesian heifer calves went to grass last week after weaning. We left a bale of hay in a sheep ring feeder in the field with them as well as a creep feeder for concentrate for the first few weeks at grass. This has worked well for the last few years to avoid summer scour and stomach issues post-turnout.
We will move them on to grass only after another couple of weeks, with maybe some younger and lighter calves running separately with the creep feeder for a bit longer.
The creep feeder has a basic plate to restrict access and make the calves work harder to get feed out, which keeps intakes under control. It also has a very good flap at the front to deter crows which helps for both feed saving and most importantly for disease prevention.