Weather this week continues its mild trend and the cows are still enjoying their freedom in the paddock after milking every morning and evening.
There is some damage being done around gaps after the rain this week, but this should all recover quickly throughout the spring.
We have around two-thirds of the herd calved now, but things will start to slow down over the next few weeks.
We might still get a very tough spring, but all we can do is enjoy the current conditions as long as they last, and we can deal with whatever March and April throw at us when it happens.
Our maiden heifers are also out grazing on their block of ground.
They did some surface damage on one of the wet nights last week, but have settled down well since into their grazing routine.
Hopefully, we can leave a good surplus of silage in the pit
There is plenty of silage left in the pit if the weather changes, but we’ll keep as much grass as possible in the diet for as long as we can in the meantime. Hopefully, we can leave a good surplus of silage in the pit and keep a buffer in place for any future shortages.
The cows are eating 5kg of concentrate in the parlour and we are offering them a few kilograms of silage at milking time, both morning and evening. We can increase this allocation if the weather turns, but so far, they are healthy and milking well enough on this diet. Grass intakes have started to increase over the last few weeks and cows are cleaning out grazing allocations very well now.
We are using a product, which is putting a nice soft surface on the roadways, which should reduce any physical damage to the cows’ feet
We are resurfacing some of the roadways this week to try to keep cows’ feet right through the grazing season. We are using a product, which is putting a nice soft surface on the roadways, which should reduce any physical damage to the cows’ feet.
We have also tried to footbath the cows regularly since the start of calving to keep on top of any infections that are hanging around in the herd.
We have been putting serious mileage on cows’ feet over the last few years, so we are seeing a few more problems than we would have in previous years. Hopefully, this new product on the surface of the roadways and a new footbath setup will help minimise problems this season.
Grass is staying very green this spring
We will hopefully get some fertiliser out this week on the main grazing block.
Grass is staying very green this spring, with the mild weather and higher than average soil temperatures.
It should be in a great position to kick on and grow now, so we will apply 20 units of nitrogen, which should take us through to the second half of March with some assistance from slurry.
We have the first couple of batches of bull calves sold out of the yard already.
Hopefully, this weekend will see another few calves organised and moved out.
We might also start to sell some heifer calves from this week onwards as we move towards having enough gathered up for ourselves. With the cost of feeding both milk and milk replacer – and the availability of labour at a premium – we will try to minimise the numbers of surplus calves in the yard through the spring.