Peter Hynes: Spending on straw and minerals has paid dividends this calving season
It's hard to believe we are well into March already. With 80pc of the cows calved, all we need is plenty more dry weather to keep the workload down.
I don't think I've seen such a fine February - the cows were out 24 hours a day grazing, bar three nights when they were on three-hour breaks. That fine weather gave us a chance to get 50pc of the farm spread with slurry and we have 70 units of nitrogen spread.
It's the tightest calving season we've had yet and it makes a big impact on milk production with collections up 45pc consistently on 2018.
Cows are producing 1.95kg milk solids at 4.50pc fat and 3.51pc protein on 4kg of 16pc dairy nut so it looks like they'll peak well considering we still have a young herd.
Global dairy markets look positive for the foreseeable future so we should do okay on milk price in 2019.
One of my favourite parts of calving is seeing new life and new genetics arrive. We have a keystone contact with the National Cattle Breeding Centre. This means we use the G1 bulls on the herd and we take this a step further using those bulls on our maiden heifers, too. We have been doing this for a few years to maximise genetic gain.
However, we do put a lot of background research into the calving difficulty record of the parentage. We've had no issues calving the heifers again this year.
Seeing the progeny of these elite bulls hit the ground is always exciting.