We have moved calving forward a few days this year, so we have about 40 cows or 10% of the herd calved already, as we hit our official due date this week.
Calving is going well so far, with most of the cows hitting the parlour in good health and calves arriving with minimum trouble, thankfully.
Hopefully it will continue in this vein for the next few weeks.
The selective dry cow therapy seems to have worked well too, with only one cow showing a small touch of mastitis after calving so far.
Cows have been out grazing for a few hours most days so far since the start of calving
She seems to be clearing up quickly enough, so hopefully we won’t see too much difference in udder health through the herd compared to last year.
Cows have been out grazing for a few hours most days so far since the start of calving, with ground conditions reasonably good.
We will get a bit more professional with stripwires and second gaps etc from this week on and hopefully, with a bit of on-off grazing, we can take advantage of the exceptional growth through the winter this year.
Unfortunately, input prices will set new personal bests as well
We sent the first drop of milk away to Glanbia this week to start off what looks like a record year for milk price. Unfortunately, input prices will set new personal bests as well, to take a lot of the good out of it.
We will concentrate on getting the milk out the gate first and see if we can control costs as much as possible as we move through the year.
Rising grain prices worldwide will keep feed costs high for the year, but we wouldn’t begrudge that to the grain farmers as long as our commodities track those levels. The fertiliser price hikes on the other hand benefit no-one in the country, with scary quotes for the first few months of the year at least.
The financing of the extra turnover for both merchants and farmers will cause a lot of headaches through the year compared to 2021.
We will sell off a small group of bulling heifers that are surplus to requirements and lean on clover a bit more this year
It looks like we have a good store of silage left over after this winter, so if we combine that with dropping the stocking rate slightly on the youngstock ground, we should be able to back off a good bit on fertiliser rates this year.
We will sell off a small group of bulling heifers that are surplus to requirements and lean on clover a bit more this year, to try to hold onto as much as possible of the extra turnover from the high milk price.
We oversowed clover seed with reasonable success last year, so we will try a bit more again this April and see if we can get a bit more to stick.
Slurry is the other priority alongside calving for the next couple of months.
We will also try to get a low rate out on some of the lighter covers that were grazed late last year and save on an early round of urea if possible
We will try to follow the cows with the trailing shoe through the first rotation where and when possible. We will also try to get a low rate out on some of the lighter covers that were grazed late last year and save on an early round of urea if possible.
We tried something a little different this week as well, with a small bit of flushing embryos from some of the top maiden heifers in the herd and a couple of older cows that are on the way out after long years of service.
We will implant these embryos in the bottom end of the milking cows in the spring and see if we can generate a few high index bulls and heifers to bring into the herd.
The technology we are using is reasonably new, but proven well enough. We will see how results go through the year.