Gerard Sherlock: It's the end of an era for me as our local co-ops merge
We all knew that the fabulous February couldn't last. The heavy rains and sleety showers in early March ended the grazing fairly abruptly but thankfully cows are back out again and grazing very happily.
They were housed full-time in early March and didn't get back out until March 22. According to my spring planner I should have 59pc of the grazing platform grazed by the end of last week. In actual terms I have 40pc.
All is not lost as I will catch up fairly quickly in the coming weeks. My end date is April 12, but I will have to look for an extension to slow the first rotation down. Paddocks are being cleaned out well.
The paddocks that were grazed in February now have covers between 500-700 on them. I spread 30 units/acre of Urea last week for a total of 60 units year to date. Presently the farm cover is 1050 and cows are being grazed at 4.71Lu/ha.
The 75 milking cows are presently producing 24litres at 4.11pcBF, 3.18pcPR giving 1.73kg MS/cow/day, TBC 5000, SCC 100, Therm. 100. I am expecting these solids figures to improve when grass is in the diet again. The cows are getting 7kg of grass, 5kg of a 18pc P nut and 6kg of silage.
Calving continued steadily throughout March with about 15 left to calve. My last Friesian arrived just before St Patrick's Day. It will be all beef bred calves now. The Friesian bull calf trade was difficult this spring. The ongoing problems with selling them were discussed at our last discussion group meeting. One issue highlighted was a big variation in prices.
We all wanted to sell our Friesian bull calves as quickly as possible, but not for poor money. The quality of our Friesian bull calves have improved in recent years. Over the last month I sold Friesian bull calves for prices, ranging from €30 to €70.
The dearer ones were at least six weeks and over.