I was really hoping that I might have got my rehoused cattle back to grass this weekend, but, unfortunately, after last Thursday’s rain, it was almost a case of having to rehouse the rest of them instead!

Things are still pretty dismal, with low temperatures and poor growth, but now with the added benefit of poor ground conditions just to spice things up that little bit more.

I’ve been calving cows from November to January for the past 20 years almost. Sometimes I question the wisdom of it.

Higher costs, having to feed meal to the cow all winter. Plus, I’m calving cows in the shortest, coldest and most dismal days of the year.

Spring calving a solution?

I’ve often asked myself would spring calving be more pleasant? A longer day with usually higher temperatures.

Get the cow calved and out to grass as quickly as possible.

However, this spring has restored my faith in the fact that what I’m doing is correct for my farm and my operation.

Half my cows have been housed for three weeks at this stage on silage only.

As I’ve said before, their calves have access to adjoining fields, which takes the pressure off the cow and keeps the calf thriving.

Diet consideration

The cows are already back in calf, which means that the silage only diet is adequate, not ideal but adequate.

If I was spring calving, I would be trying to get these cows back in-calf at this point.

Rehousing them would put cow and calf under huge pressure and most definitely a silage-only diet would not suffice.

Also, the calves would be too young to take much benefit from grazed grass, so letting them out to grass on their own would not have as big a beneficial effect as with the older calves.

A horrible spring it has been, but I can take some solace in the fact that my system is the right one for me, lack of profit aside.

Don't fight mother nature

If I’ve learned anything over the last 20 years, it’s that there is no point in fighting mother nature.

This is one of these springs where the rule book goes out the window. You do what you do as a farmer to keep the show on the road.

Keep things living and as healthy as possible and don’t feel guilty if things look a bit crap. Anyone can farm if the weather is with you.

I always associate May mornings with going out early, sun shining and looking at stock lying chewing their cuds. Unfortunately, this year it was not to be.

But knowing what to do in these adverse situations is what makes me and everyone like me a farmer.

Keep the head up folks, better days lie ahead, I’m sure of it!