Our Farm: Testing the herd and fact-finding in Belgium
Today, November 1, is a significant date in the Irish calendar. Traditionally, it was known as All Hallows or Samhain. In the farming calendar the harvest was finished, and many animals were housed in those days coinciding with the finish of the traditional nine-month conacre system. Supposedly today is the first day of winter.
The last few weeks have been really pleasant to work in. Together, the dry weather and the autumnal colours of nature encourage us to appreciate farming as a way of life.
Thankfully, the herd test was completed and was clear, which was a big relief. Unfortunately, TB has raised its head again locally in recent months. It is one of those diseases that can cause a lot of stress for the farmer, especially at calving time as he is unable to sell excess calves.
The cows were housed by night on October 11. They are still grazing by day, and with the excellent grazing conditions cows are happy out. I did a grass cover last week and the farm cover is 580. It will probably finish up at 500 which is where I want to be closing up.
The first paddocks to be closed in early October have covers now of 600-800. They would have got watery slurry also.
Presently, the 65 cows are producing 14 litres @ 4.18pc BF, 3.66pc PR giving 1.18kg MS/cow/day, TBC 5000, SCC 199, Therm. 200, Lactose 4.72pc. I reckon cows are eating 8kgs of grass, 6kgs of silage and 3kgs of a high UFL 18pc nut. I will start to dry off this week.
About half of the in-calf heifers were housed full-time on October 10. The rest will be housed this week. They will get their second salmonella vaccine shot this week.
The weanlings will be kept out as long as possible in small groups. They are getting 2kgs of concentrates.