Given the poor performance over the last two winters, the woodchip stand-off pad is the first topic to be discussed. We walk out on to the pad and, despite all the rain, it’s like walking on a woodchip spring bed. There is a bounce in the surface and as the cows gather around us you can see the woodchip springing up and down with each step. The favourite cow lying area is now directly behind the concrete feed passage – an area that was just muddy and wet last year. Now it’s clean and dry despite the heavy traffic passing through on the way to the feed face.
Stocking rate for most of the winter has been 11m2 per cow and this has been reduced to less than 10m2 per cow since the in-calf heifers arrived back in early January. The high stocking rate only lasted for two weeks because there are now 60 cows calved and calved cows are out grazing.