It's time to batten down the hatches for what is shaping up to be a long winter
We are now past mid-October and the good 'backend' I had hoped for never arrived.
The last four weeks have been difficult and challenging. The only saving grace is that the weather hasn't turned cold yet.
The cows are just about to go indoors fulltime. I have managed to keep them outdoors every day up to now. The milking cows have been housed every night since September 12. Ten dry cows were housed fulltime two weeks ago along with the in-calf heifers.
Present farm cover is 550kgs. This is probably where I should be at. I don't want it to go any lower as it will reduce grass for the spring. There is 5.5ha that the cows haven't been able to graze as the ground conditions are too wet. I will graze it with weanlings this week.
I completed an autumn grazing planner at the end of August with a target housing date of October 25. I reckon I will be 10 days ahead of this. By today I should have 90pc of the farm closed. Last week I had 83pc closed so despite the wet conditions I wasn't too far off the plan.
The 65 milking cows are currently producing 17 litres @ 4.31pcBF, 3.60pcPR giving 1.5kg MS/cow/day, TBC 7000, SCC 90, Therm. 100, Lactose 4.80pc. Cows are getting 4kgs of a 18pc protein nut.
They are eating three round bales every night. Cows were scanned last month. Twenty were not in calf, giving a 22pc empty rate. Most of these were fourth lactation cows and older. Six of them I didn't mind parting with as they had other problems such as high SCC and lost quarters.
I decided to sell off 14 of them in the local mart. Their average weight was 550kgs and their average price was €1.15kg.