More questions than answers from an investigation into my cow empty rates
2013 will be long remembered as a year of two extremes. The extremely long poor spring and the extremely long and terrific autumn.
We are now past mid-November and a lot of younger animals are still out in the fields. The cows came indoors full-time on November 3. They went indoors at night just 10 days before this. The cows were outdoors this year for 237 days. They first went out on February 21 until March 8, and were back out full-time from March 28.
I did a final grass measurement on November 11 and the average farm cover was at 413kgDM/ha. In-calf heifers were housed on November 8. The weanlings seem content as they have plenty of grass and are getting 2kg of a heifer developer nut daily.
I keep them in groups of eight or so to avoid poaching. They are dosed every three weeks. I had two weanling heifers that became lame. I treated them for foul in the foot. One came alright but the other one is still a bit lame. I suspect it got hurt from being on heat.
The cows are being fed round bales. I have finished the 83 bales of third cut and am eating other bales that are on the farm. The dung is thin from the cows, due to the third cut bales being leafy. There is a bale of straw with the cows as well.
I will open the second-cut pit in two weeks when these bales are eaten. Twenty cows were dried off last week. They were mainly first calvers and some thin cows and cows that were yielding 5l/day or less. Cepravin tubes were used. Four cows were treated with lactating tubes over two days. These cows showed some tests above 250,000 SCC during the year.
Fifty-four cows are currently milking producing 13l at 4.17pc butter fat, 3.46pc protein, TBC 7,000 and giving 1.0kg milk solids/cow/day. Milk proteins have dropped since they went indoors full-time having peaked at 3.72pc on October 18.
A final pregnancy scan was done on October 15. Twelve scanned not in-calf out of 74, or 16pc empty. Four of these I don't mind culling as they had problems.