Grass growth on the farm has started to improve in the last couple of weeks and we now have growth of 34kg DM/ha per day and demand is at 47kg DM/ha per day.
The cooler weather than normal isn’t helping us reach the magical target of a balanced growth and demand, although as we move into the month of May this is often reversed and surpluses are the norm.
These figures do not include the 50 acres that have been closed off for silage.
The hoggets will be used, as usual, as a flying mob cleaning out paddocks properly after the ewes with the lambs so as not to compromise the milking ability of the ewes rearing the lambs.
I plan on spreading another 20 units of nitrogen per acre across the grazing area of the farm to keep grass moving on in them while the others are closed for silage.
This represents a reduction of seven units to what is normally spread at this time of the year.
A small reduction of fertiliser in my mind is far better than completely cutting it.
If we reduce fertiliser to the extent that we cannot grow enough grass for our stock, we have to supplement them with ration which is also increasing in price or sell off the stock we cannot feed.
The lambs from the two Central Progeny Testing (CPT) groups will be weighed this week to see how they are preforming; they will receive a drench for nematodirus as well as going through the footbath while they are coming through the yard.
I already had the first mob through a few weeks ago for a worm drench and a footbath, as well as weighing them to assess how they are performing.
This will be the first performance check of the year. Ideally, they should be doing 300g per day or better and it is also a good indicator as to how well the ewes are lactating as much of their weight gain to now is from mothers’ milk.
The average daily liveweight gain for the first mob was 330g per day with a range of as high as 520g to a low of 110g
The average daily liveweight gain for the first mob was 330g per day with a range of as high as 520g to a low of 110g.
This information can be of great help in identifying ewes to remove from the system as lambs with very low performance now will very likely not improve as the year progresses, only adding additional cost to the farm as these lambs will still be around late into the year.
We have also started weaning the pet lambs off milk over the last couple of weeks.
Once the lambs are eating a good amount of ration and are about five weeks of age, I start removing them to a separate pen without access to milk.
Last year I left the pet lambs inside the shed on a meal diet. This worked extremely well as the lambs didn’t have to adjust to a grass diet and were all finished early in the summer.