Pulling fields out of rotation an option with grass cover build-up
This must be one of the best springs in living memory for grass utilisation because the underfoot conditions have been close to perfect, along with good grass growth.
We have sub-divided quite a few of the paddocks with temporary fencing this year, to improve utilisation of grass, and it seems to be working very well. This is subject, of course, to keeping a good shock in the electric fence as I find that bull calves have very little respect for a temporary fence. They love to scratch their foreheads against the plastic stakes and, no surprise, these tend to snap off at the ground.
Covers of grass are starting to build up in front of the stock so we plan to take accurate measurement next week to see how many days we have in front of them to decide if we need to take some paddocks out of the rotation. We are very conscious that we are still in April and that things can change very quickly, but if we have a surplus we will take some out.
We will take either some round bales of silage or close some paddocks up for hay. We use quite a bit of hay at calving time in August, and any time you can get a few extra bales of hay is a bonus.
We are currently cleaning out all the sheds. While disinfection, especially of the calving areas, is extremely important, I also think it's important to have them cleaned out for as long as possible to let plenty of sunlight and air in around them. This also gives us a chance to do necessary repairs to gates, water troughs, etc.
All the calves have been treated for worms with Normectin pour-on in the past few weeks, although none of them were coughing. When you are looking for maximum performance from youngstock, I always feel that if you hear them coughing you are already a week late in dosing.
We had a casualty during the week. One of the good bull calves developed a small rupture which became progressively bigger and, despite the vet's best efforts, we were left with no option but to put him down since it was obvious that he was in discomfort with no hope of recovery.