We knew once we got the second-cut silage analysed, that we were going to have to supplement it heavily if we were to keep the stores ticking over and to have a reasonable finish on the beef cattle as they went to the factory.

On the plus side, the extra bought-in feed has prolonged the supply of silage. I knew we had less silage than normal and that we were going to have to stretch it if we were to get comfortably into April. But the stretching of silage supply has come at a cost between extra barley and extra wet grains from the drinks industry. We are relatively near a major brewery and a new large distillery; and as neither now dry their waste grain bi-products, transport costs per unit of dry matter are high, but these bi-products have met a need this year.

With all the cattle intended for grazing back in by day and by night again, the normal saving of silage that we achieve by having them out by day is no longer being made and of course they are also missing the benefit from excellent quality, young, spring grass so, inevitably, we are having reduced performance from the young bought-in cattle.

Looking at our normal silage ground, we have some really heavy infestations of docks. We are either going to have to spray these areas and hope the clover won’t be too badly affected, or else re-sow completely with a red clover grass mix and leave out the fertiliser nitrogen element entirely.

As I have mentioned before, we have always depended on clover for nitrogen for general grazing, with an early season application of slurry to get things moving, but this year there have been areas of grass where we have not been able to get out with an early dressing of slurry. Given the ground conditions, it is going to be a while before we have stock out on these paddocks.

Normally, we would have a supply of hay as a standby for a late spring, but 2023 was the first summer for a long time when we got no hay made and the reserve we had is now finished. This is proving to be a really difficult spring on the cattle side as regards grass and grazing management, but at least the market is more or less stable though at a lower level than we had expected. The cattle are killing out satisfactorily. How much extra cost have we incurred? Difficult to say until the final figures are done.

On the tillage side, we have never had so little done at this time of the year. The promise of action that every dry day brings for the next day is set at zero because of yet more rain. Hopefully, the next week will see some overdue progress.