Grass is a very scarce commodity in Clara this week, after an extremely dry month right through June.
All of May’s rain has soaked away or evaporated with the hot sunny weather over the last few days, so grass growth has moved quickly from 100kg plus of growth through the first half of the month to little or nothing this week.
We have moved quickly from taking out surplus paddocks to staring down the barrel of a summer of feeding out silage again.
Most farms over this side of the country are in the same predicament with the exceptional growth in the first half of the month seeming to almost suck the energy out of the grass or ground with growth rates taking a nosedive since.
We decided to cut what’s left of the second cut silage this week
We have hay and a light cut of silage on the ground this week again, so hopefully we will get some benefit from the fine weather and get some more feed put away for the winter or maybe even next week the way things are going. We should get to bale the hay on Wednesday and pick up the silage on Thursday.
We decided to cut what’s left of the second cut silage this week as it had stopped growing and might even have started going backwards in some of the drier fields. We have been grazing the closer of these second-cut paddocks over the past few weeks, so we have managed to keep silage out of the milking cows’ diet so far.
Cows are cleaning out these paddocks well and milking well enough off this grass with full bellies, but even though it’s aftergrass, it is getting a bit strong and obviously it’s not the quality that we would like to be putting in front of them at this time of year.
This will all be grazed by the weekend, so it needs to rain soon or we will be feeding a lot of silage next week. The forecast is for rain from the weekend on, so hopefully we get enough to kickstart the grazing paddocks again.
Farm cover will drop to 120kg per cow when the aftergrass is finished with no covers over 800kg.
The calves in particular are flying with the sun on their backs at last
We are feeding 4kg of concentrate and the cows are milking just over 1.6kg of solids. Protein has dropped under 3.5% with the stronger grass going into the diet and even the lower covers on the farm are quickly going to seed with drought stress so it will be a while before we get quality grass back into the diet again.
Youngstock are thriving very well so far in this weather however, with even low covers keeping them very satisfied. The calves in particular are flying with the sun on their backs at last. They will need some rain too soon however as grass is getting scarce in front of them as well.
These girls are very quiet now, so hopefully the breeding season has gone well
The in-calf heifers have a bit more grass ahead of them on their block of ground. These girls are very quiet now, so hopefully the breeding season has gone well. The milking cows have gone in calf very well too, with under 10% of the herd showing heat in the last three weeks.
We will keep breeding these cows with beef AI for another while. We might sell some of them as late calvers if they are healthy in every other way.
The Cowmanager heat detection system and automatic drafting system are making it very simple to continue with breeding for another few weeks.
Even if we decide to fatten and cull these late calvers over the winter, they will be easier to manage and put condition on if they are not bulling every three weeks.