Like many farmers we’ve continued to be challenged by the dry spell. We’ve needed to supplement the cows because we have not grown enough grass over the past few weeks, as well as emptying the lagoon to irrigate the pastureland. But while the weather causes problems with feed, the cows enjoy the sun and are in great condition. They definitely do well when it’s dry.
One of the big jobs for August is to PD (pregnancy diagnose) the herd to see how many are in calf. Our aim is to achieve an 8% empty rate, meaning more than nine in 10 cows will calve next February. The diagnosis is important because it enables us to plan the calving thoroughly and we’re already looking to add a herdsmen to the team.
August also sees us harvest 15 hectares of our whole crop wheat for silage – this will be an important winter feed for the cows! We under-sow the wheat with grass to enable us to “double-crop”, so when the wheat is harvested it leaves us with a field of grass and clover ready for grazing.
Even though the weather has played havoc with the grass, we enjoyed a fantastic visit from the British Grassland Society who were able to see how we manage our herd when the sun beats down.