Weather: For the first time in a long time, the long-range weather forecast is for dry and settled weather with higher temperatures. With a long list of jobs to do; spreading fertiliser and slurry, fencing, letting out maiden heifers, selling bull calves, dehorning, etc, you need to prioritise what jobs you are going to do yourself and what jobs you are going to outsource. The mistake too many people make is to try to do everything themselves and either fail to do so or only do half a job. Some farmers need a reality check; spring is at least a month late and milk prices are low and predicted to fall further. Dairy farmers’ expertise is in managing cows and grass, so focus your efforts in these areas to try and rescue what has been a difficult spring and let others focus on the tractor work and other more straightforward jobs.
Protein: Milk protein percentages seem to have dropped sharply across the country in the past week, with many results down around 3.1%. Milk proteins will drop at this stage of lactation anyway, but this reduction is much steeper than normal. The bad weather, lower intakes, average quality silage, extra stress and not enough energy in the diet are all combining to reduce the protein percentage in the milk. The expectation is that it will rise again but the rise is nearly always slower than the fall.