Farm Ireland

Friday 21 October 2016

'We are feeding baled silage as wet grass is running through the cows'

Gerard Sherlock

Published 05/10/2016 | 02:30

The 68 cows are producing 15 litres per day
The 68 cows are producing 15 litres per day

The last four weeks have been a real mixed bag of sunshine and showers. The only saving grace was temperatures remained high allowing good grass growth.

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I have managed to keep cows out by night up to now but it's a case of watching carefully the weather forecast and ground conditions. I suppose we were all anticipating an 'Indian summer' but it hasn't come yet.

I did start to feed baled silage to the milking cows in mid-September as some were dunging very loosely. Grass was just so wet that it seemed to be running through them. When the sunny dry day would come the cows weren't pushed on eating the silage.

At the minute I have a farm grass cover of 1026. The cover/LU is 324 at a stocking rate of 3.17 LU/ha. I have started to use strip fencing as it helps to clean out paddocks. Since last Saturday cow paddocks are being closed up.

Scanning cows and heifers

Cows and heifers had their final scan two weeks ago. There were sixteen cows empty or a 19pc empty rate.

There were three heifers empty or a 9pc empty rate. I was disappointed with the cows as over half of them were first and second lactation cows. The remainder were older cows including my 'granny' cow of 12 lactations.

Also two of the empties were two cows that had twins this year and two were the last cows to calve.

Of the three heifers; one we reckoned never cycled at all, while the other two were cycling with no apparent problems. What do I do with the empties was the next question.

I decided to sell off as many as possible. I have kept six as they are still milking well.

What did the cows make?

On average the cows have made €1/kg, while the heifers made €1.20/kg.

Recently the silage results came back for this year's first and second cuts. The first cut had a dry matter of 28pc, crude protein of 13pc, DMD of 69, ME of 10.4 and pH of 4.1.

The second cut had a dry matter of 25pc, crude protein of 14pc, DMD of 72, ME of 10.8 and pH of 3.9. I haven't discussed them with anyone yet but I reckon my second cut is better than my first cut.

Dry matters are good in both but I thought DMD should have been better in the first cut. It was cut on May 31. It seems that silage results in some cases are disappointing this year.

The 68 cows are producing 15 litres per day at 4.00pc butter fat, 3.50pc protein giving 1.14kg MS/cow/day, TBC 6000, SCC 189, Therm. 200, Lactose 4.72pc.

They are getting 2kgs of a high UFL 18pc nut. I applied for 12,000 litres in the milk reduction scheme.

I made 80 bales of third cut on September 16. It was mowed the previous day and was turned over once that evening. It was surprisingly dry when it was being baled.

All the cow slurry tanks are empty now. All weanlings were dosed last week and moved to fresh grass.

The Diet

The Friesian heifers are getting 2kgs of a heifer developer nut and the non- Friesians are getting 2kgs of a beef nut. I sold the Hereford and Friesian stock bulls. They made €1.60/kg and were 810kgs and 715kgs respectively.

Three of us attended the ploughing event this year on the Tuesday and Thursday. With great crowds and great sunshine it made for a very enjoyable day.

One query I had to check was to visit the Department of Agriculture marquee. I hadn't received my ANC payment so I was wondering what was wrong.

They could tell me that there was a problem and that I had over-claimed. I had claimed 1.78ha in a particular parcel. The Department say it should be 1.76ha.

They are doing a satellite check on it and couldn't give me any definite date when it would be done. I await every text in anticipation.

We hear so much about motor insurance increases, it's only when you get your own renewal price that you see the difference.

Recently our car and the commercial van were renewed. The first figures that were quoted were at least €200 up on last year. After a few phone calls I bargained them down to within an €100 increase from last year.

You see, bargaining pays.

Gerard Sherlock farms at Tydavnet, Co Monaghan

Indo Farming


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