On the home front, cows are milking 13 litres at 5.52pc fat and 4.31pc protein on 2kg of nuts. Lactose is still fine at 4.60pc, with SCC averaging 180. Thermoduric bacteria are tested occasionally and are fluctuating between 50 and 90.
We have reduced the stocking rate to 2.7 cows/ha by drying off cows and selling all empty cows plus some culls.
The weather was dry during October and that gave us much improved ground conditions and ideal weather for grazing.
We have been getting an excellent clean out with very little marking on the ground. This also allowed us to spread the small amount of slurry left in the tanks as well as the parlour washings and the last of the farmyard manure.
Grass growth has been poor over the last few weeks only averaging 17kg/dm/day for the last seven days.
This is well down on last year and with the demand set at 40 kg/dm/day it has resulted in farm cover dropping rapidly to 650kg/dm/ha.
I suspect this may be a legacy of the wet August and September. We had 73pc of the farm grazed on November 1, a little higher than our target of 65pc but still manageable. This poses two challenges.
The first is that we will not have enough grass to feed the cows till our target dry off date on December 1.
We will make the grass stretch till that date by increasing the amount of high quality bale silage being fed to the milking cows to at least 5kg/dm daily.
On this farm it is very important to keep the cows grazing and milking till December 1 because we do not have enough winter housing and also we have noticed the out wintering pad holds up better if no cow goes on it until at least that date.
Also there will be big benefits in protein percentage leading to a higher milk price.
We will continue to monitor body condition score and dry any lame or thin cows.
The cows feet have improved with the dry weather having been very tender in September.
The second problem is that if we graze all 100pc of the farm we are certain to have a closing farm cover lower than our target of 550kg/dm/ha.
We will monitor this as we go and will consider skipping one or two of the lighter paddocks last grazed in September. We believe it is much more important to have a good opening cover in spring as the herd is calving compact.
To reduce demand on grass and winter housing we have sold all empty cows and also culled some three teaters and late April calvers.
A group of the in-calf heifers were sold so that next spring we will only calve the number of cows we want to milk next year.
There are now some cows and heifers on the winter blocks.
Covers here are also a bit low so John is taking advantage of the dry weather and supplementing with a bale.
This is working a treat with minimal ground damage but ensuring the heifers are well filled and content while still achieving a good clean out.
Henry and Patricia Walsh farm in Oranmore, Co Galway, along with their son, Enda, and neighbour and out-farm owner John Moran.