Farm work never stops but I still plan to enjoy a family Christmas
Published 07/12/2011 | 06:00
The last of the weanlings came indoors at the weekend. They didn't take much persuasion as conditions got very wet and cold last week. I clipped their tails and ran the clippers up and down their backs. I also treated them for lice with Ectospec.
I divided them into two groups of older and stronger ones and lighter types. They go on the slats with weanling-sized cubicles for them.
They will get the second cut silage with some straw mixed in and 2kg of a heifer grow ration. When they have been indoors for three weeks they will be dosed with Levacide Diamond. All the other stock will be getting their second lice dose this week, four weeks after the first one. I will also dose the dairy dry stock and in-calf heifers with Zanil.
All cows are getting silage and straw at 0.5kg mixed in the feeder. The dry cows and in-calf heifers are getting 2kg of an 18pc dairy blend. I feed this on top of the silage each morning with 150g/cow of a high spec mineral. I don't mix the blend in the diet feeder as I am tortured with crows. The meal lorry had hardly left the yard when the crows were in flying around. They leave such a mess when they start to pick through the silage. The cows were housed full-time on November 11. I managed to graze 95pc of the farm. There is a nice covering of green grass on all paddocks. Hopefully it will still be there and lots more in early spring.
There are 48 cows milking at present. This will reduce to about 32 by Christmas. They're yielding 13l at 3.92pc fat, 3.30pc protein, an SCC of 184,000 and a TBC of 5,000.
The hoof parer was in last week. There were no major problems. Two cows had some slight mortellaro. We concluded that I should footbath all stock in January. In previous years, I have used formaldehyde and it has worked well.
This week, my farm insurance is up for renewal. It's always a big bill coming up to Christmas. Insurance is complicated by nature and sometimes farmers are guilty of not questioning it too much. But I always talk it through with the insurance adviser each year. The first question should be whether you have adequate insurance. At our local IFA branch AGM recently a local insurance rep pointed out a couple of things I needed to check for myself. The first one was what am I licensed to drive. I discovered that I am not licensed to tow a trailer but I suspect that a lot of people are in the same boat. I rang up my local motor tax office and was told I would have to do the full driving and theory test to get a trailer put on my licence. Another point the insurance rep made is to make sure all the lands occupied with animals are listed on the policy. This is relevant, especially when so many of us rent land. If an animal breaks out from an unlisted townland and causes an accident, there is no cover.
So it's worth sitting down and going through the small print on the policy every year, and that's before you even get stuck into bargaining and shopping around for better deals. Traditionally, I never questioned insurance premiums but that day is long gone.