There are currently 140 cows grazing full-time on Stephen and Hazel Wallace’s farm, and herd performance is being maintained at around 29.5l per cow per day.
Heifer calves had also been turned out and weighed recently on the farm near Seaforde, Co Down. Analysis of the results showed that all calves were performing well and reached a liveweight gain of 0.83kg per day by six months of age.
Calves are currently grazing grass with an average (total) cover around 2,000-2,500 kgDM/ha and are receiving 1.5-2kg of a maize gluten concentrate mix each day.
Stephen is also planning to harvest his first cut silage this week. Grass for first cut silage had previously received 120kgN/ha (96 units/acre) through the application of 3,000 gallons of slurry per acre in February, plus a bag and a half of protected urea per acre split over two applications in March.
Stephen is happy that yields of grass are significantly higher than what was harvested at the same time last year. In addition, when a selection of field samples were assessed for levels of soluble carbohydrate using a refractometer, it was found that the samples had a concentration of around 4-5%.
There should therefore be enough soluble carbohydrate available to ensure that a successful fermentation occurs. The plan is to allow grass to be mowed and wilted for 24 hours to achieve a target dry matter of around 25%.