Our grass is back growing again this week, with a bit of quality even starting to appear back into the swards.
We’ve had over 50mm of rain in the last couple of weeks, which is just enough to get grass moving.
It’s great to be looking at green fields again, rather than yellow or brown.
We have dropped the meal feeding back from 5kg to 3kg and hopefully it will drop further, but for the moment, we will hold at that.
Hopefully, we might pick up another cut of silage in late August or early September
Proteins are starting to creep up again after a tough summer, so hopefully the autumn will be a bit easier in terms of grass quality.
We have the whole farm spread with nitrogen again after skipping a round in July.
Hopefully, we might pick up another cut of silage in late August or early September, to fill the last bit of space available in the pits. We sprayed on some nitrogen again after the rain to try to get things moving a bit faster.
We scanned the cows this week. This is a bit earlier than usual, but we wanted a clear picture on where we are going with stock numbers for the autumn in case the drought persisted. Hopefully that danger is averted now, but we can still use the early data to plan for the second half of the year a bit better.
We finished breeding over a month ago now, so we won’t need to scan again. We have just over 10% empty in the cows, which is a bit disappointing, with a few late embryo deaths increasing the numbers. This may have been caused by heat stress through July, but its difficult to say for sure.
The heifers scanned very well though, with only 3% not in-calf. We will cull reasonably hard this year, with some older cows needing to go as well as the barren ones, but we should still have some surplus heifers to sell either in the autumn or spring, depending on grass growth for the rest of the year.
Some of the better milkers that showed up not in calf will hopefully be sold in milk, which should lessen the blow a little
We can feed individually through the new parlour, so we will put some of the cull cows on a higher rate of feeding towards the end of the year and hopefully speed up their finishing processes coming into the winter. Some of the better milkers that showed up not in calf will hopefully be sold in milk, which should lessen the blow a little.
With milk price in a good place and grass hopefully on the right track again, we will milk cows as much as possible into the autumn. We should have enough forage on hand to cover the winter and spring. We will start to sell cows in milk in November, with the cull cows sold as they come finished through December and January.
We were told that we would have an opportunity to engage and consult with the Department of Agriculture before these changes come into effect
Off-farm, we are being bombarded with new CAP arrangements and new nitrates rules are being suggested as well. We were told that we would have an opportunity to engage and consult with the Department of Agriculture before these changes come into effect. So far, this process has been very unsatisfactory, with the engagement taking on more of a one-sided lecture format rather that a discussion or meaningful debate.
Hopefully, as we move through this process, and the Department will find a way to hear farmers’ views and opinions in a more transparent and meaningful way. At present, it feels like these new arrangements are being forced down our throats, with these meetings more of a box ticking exercise for the Department rather than an opportunity for farmers’ views to be taken on board.
This needs to change quickly and meaningful engagement is needed before farmers get even more frustrated and have to take to the streets again this autumn.