We are still enjoying the exceptional autumn conditions in Clara this week.
We started closing paddocks for the spring back at the start of October and despite that we have enough grazing left to keep the last of the milking herd out for another two weeks.
We have been milking once a day for a month now and feeding silage for a couple of hours after milking to extend the last of the grass and we have about 60% of the herd dried off, all of which has reduced demand for grass rapidly over the last month.
Cell count did wobble a bit
Cow condition is good as we move towards the end of lactation so we are just drying off cows based on calving date.
Cell count did wobble a bit for a few collections after about two weeks on once-a-day milking, but after a couple of cases of mastitis were treated, we have it under control again.
The last of the cows are averaging just over 10 litres at 5.5% fat and 4.6% protein.
These are later-calving cows and the last of the empty cows. We will dry off another batch next week and leave the rest milking up until Christmas week, if possible.
We are continuing to use dry-cow tubes selectively, with only about 70% of the herd receiving antibiotics at dry-off.
We spread a tonne to the acre of lime last week on 90% of the grazing platform. We will spread the last 10% when the cows have finished grazing it off.
We have a healthy enough level of clover established across most of the farm over the last few years
With the prices being quoted for fertiliser, hopefully this will help us to make as much use as possible out of slurry, farmyard manure and any natural fertility built up in the ground over the past few years.
We have a healthy enough level of clover established across most of the farm over the last few years and will continue to oversow most of the farm again next spring to keep adding to it.
Hopefully it will come into its own in 2022 and compensate for the reduction in artificial fertiliser that will have to take place.
As we move towards the end of one season, we start to look forward to the next. We are calving earlier than usual in 2022, with the first of the calves due around 10 January.
We have a good cover of grass ready for the spring, so we will see how this system works for us this year. There is a strong bonus for early milk next January and February, so we should see a very high milk price for the first two months of the year.
There should be a good demand for both Friesian bull calves and surplus heifer calves if they arrive healthy and early enough in the year
We should get out ahead of the market to some extent with the surplus calves as well. There should be a good demand for both Friesian bull calves and surplus heifer calves if they arrive healthy and early enough in the year.
We will reassess before the breeding season to see if we will continue with the earlier calving date or move back towards the end of January.
Developments in Glanbia will have to be watched closely over the next couple of weeks leading up to the vote if it happens as planned before Christmas.
The share price has dipped enough over the last month to significantly impact the financial plans for the buy-out.
A few big questions arise from the dip in share value
With the plans to sell 4% of the co-op’s shares as soon as possible and to spin-out another 4% to shareholders as well as possibly selling a further 4% for investment, current shareholders could be looking at a serious glut of shares coming on the market in 2022.
A few big questions arise from the dip in share value. Will the shortfall be made up by selling more shares, or borrowing more money? If borrowing more money, what impact will the higher payments have on milk price? And should the board shelve the plans to sell the extra 4% of shares for a period of time to take some of the pressure off the share value?