Housing D-Day is just around corner so it is vital to keep livestock at grass for as long as possible to prepare for winter challenges
With the harvest finished and only a few loads of straw left to deliver, the next challenge for the farm is to keep the livestock at grass for as long as possible before housing them.
Most farmers might not like to hear it but winter is just around the corner, so I think a plan must be put in place to push out the housing D-Day. I am aiming for November 1.
To do this I will be lengthening the last rotation and trying to budget the grass as best I can. If I can achieve this, the farm has sufficient winter feed accumulated for a five-month winter, and the remaining grass can be cleaned up by the ewes and the last remaining lambs.
All the cattle are thriving well on good quality grass that has grown in the past month. If weather conditions remain good it will be well utilised. But at this time of the year what looks like heavy covers of grass can often disappear quickly if the weather takes a turn for the worse.
The stock bull was removed from the cows just three weeks ago. That might sound late to some, but we lamb first before starting into calving. Two cows have been observed in heat since but I will wait another two weeks before scanning.
The empty cows will then be separated and put on good grass with the aim of having them factory fit by January. The cows are grazing the wetter fields of the farm at the moment, and in three weeks' time will be moved to rented ground where a butt of grass has developed. This should keep them contentedly chewing for the month of October before being housed.
Magnesium was added to the drinking water two weeks ago but I have introduced Hi-Mag mineral buckets in the past couple of days. They have a 12pc magnesium content, with 250g per cow per day recommended.
They have worked well on the farm over the last number of years and I find it a cheap and easy way to combat grass tetany at this time of the year. But the golden rule is to put the buckets out before you lose a cow.