My memory of last week is a bit clouded. I’m unsure if I meant a pun there or not. From early Wednesday through to Friday afternoon, we were immersed in fog and drizzle and it felt like one day merged into the next.

I was grateful for Storm Kathleen’s drying winds, but heavy rain last Monday, followed by the misty days, meant last week was a write-off. Thankfully there seems to be an improvement on the cards, but it’s hard to believe it’s the second half of April. The risk of dry summers and long winters is built into the system here when it comes to fodder, so there’s no fear that way.

We’ve managed with slurry too, although it meant some ground has got none all year and other parts of the farm have got their annual quota.

The on-farm adaption to conditions continues. At this stage, unless there’s a dramatic change in ground conditions, there’s a possibility that there will still be breeding stock indoors at the start of May. Conditions on the out-farm remain too soft to send anything there, while at the young stock yard near the village, half the replacement heifers are out, but did a lot of chopping of ground last week. For 48 hours last week you could just make out their dark figures through the fog. That ground will need a strong week or maybe longer before I can put a tractor on it to do a bit of stitching, slurry or both.

The rush of calving is over and the last few will take another few weeks before the end is in sight. That break has been useful, given how the weather has been. Cows remained out at home in two groups. Those with younger calves were kept on the move, while the older ones were confined to two paddocks where I could offer silage on the roadways. At least there the repair seeding will be kept to a minimum.

The last two that calved went out on their own. It won’t need much to keep them going and at this stage it’s a better option than keeping them in the shed. A few of the heifers that calved last were mixed in with cows initially, but all the first-calvers are together now. They needed extra feeding, the cows didn’t. All the calves are together on the straw lie-back behind them.

I’m not comfortable feeding ration to suckler cows, but needs must this spring, so those that have calved and are indoors are getting some. It’s the standard forage-only diet for those outside. All the first-calvers are on 2kg and the few older cows alongside them are getting a pick to prevent me from going deaf. The bellowing that happens when I pick up a bucket is something else.

There’s a similar arrangement for the replacement heifers. Those outside are on grass, while the few that are in get 2kg too. Depending on how ground is and how grass growth goes, they could be out within a week to 10 days.

Delaying breeding has been discussed and is likely to be a weekly topic for the next month. I’m happy enough to stay around the last week of February, but if stock aren’t conditioned to a grass diet ahead of breeding, could that result in a bunch of them slipping later? There will be no panic in making that decision yet anyway.