Weather hampered first cut silage but conditions spot on for covering the pit
We missed the first blast of summer over the June Bank Holiday weekend and so our first cut silage was harvested in less than perfect conditions. But, on the positive side, we got excellent weather for covering the pit.
There wasn't a leaf stirring, which meant you could almost leave the sheet of plastic sitting on top of the pit and walk away. Most people's experience is that, the moment you open a sheet of plastic, even on the calmest day, wind seems to appear and it has often been -- I know on this farm -- a fine line between getting the pit covered successfully and hang-gliding into the next parish.
All the silage was tedded immediately after it was mowed and I would be well satisfied with both the quality of the grass and the bulk. We would estimate that we have in the region of 13t of fresh weight per acre in the pit, with minimal effluent.
All the autumn-born calves have been treated with Noromectin Pour-on. I always like to do this around two weeks before weaning so that, if there are any parasites about, they are well and truly gone out of the system at weaning time so there will be no additional stress.
As the cows and calves complete their last rotation before weaning, we still leave access to the old paddock when they are moving on to a new paddock. I know a lot of people will be horrified that we are allowing cattle back in to eat the re-growths, but there is method in my madness.
The reason we do this is that the cows will be going back out into these paddocks immediately after weaning and the last thing you want is a continental cow that is heavy in calf having access to fresh grass.
All the calves have since been weaned. This year it seemed to be a particularly trouble-free operation with both cows and weanlings apparently quite happy to go their separate ways.
Weaning itself is a simple operation. We just bring each group into the yard, separate the cows from the calves, let the calves out into a paddock of nice fresh grass and let the cows into the grazed paddock beside them.