A grid payment system rewarding quality is vital
Published 21/12/2011 | 06:00
For some reason I always dislike this time of year. The nights are getting longer, the days shorter and we're still only at the beginning of winter. Maybe that's one of the reasons why fairy lights became a tradition of Christmas ... but I don't know how our Limousin cows would react to a string of flashing lights across the yard.
We swapped around the stock bulls among the different groups of cows last week. Things seem quiet in the breeding department, having only observed a few cows bulling in the last week. That's usually very good news or very bad news -- either all the cows are in calf or they are just not cycling.
We have no reason to believe that a lot of them are not in calf, though we can't be sure until we scan. That won't be until February. So fingers crossed until then.
Calves seem to be happy and thriving well, although we had to treat a few of them for pneumonia this past week. But they have been responding quickly to treatment and I assume that's because they are vaccinated.
The bull calves that we would hope to export next year have access to a paddock close to the shed and, regardless of the weather, they seem to spend quite a bit of time outdoors.
We got the results of the analysis for our maize back and, as expected, they were quite disappointing. So, as we said before, bulk-wise we had only half the crop and it appears, quality-wise, we have only half a crop as well. So, before next spring, we will have to have a long hard think about the future of maize on the farm.
At the moment, maize left from last year is being fed to the bulls that are being fattened and when that is gone we will probably move them over onto some good first-cut silage rather than this year's maize.
We were sorting our 14-month-old heifers last week and I think we have pretty much decided to finish the more forward ones of them out of the shed in the spring. Usually we would finish these heifers off grass in August/September but I think this group of heifers is more forward than previous years and, with this in mind, it looks like we might fatten about half them and let the rest out to grass in the spring.