12 to 16 cows served a day, silage and reseeds

WELCOME to Clive Hall again…

Farmer PhilWhen I finished my last report, I had just tail painted all the cows to enable me to identify any non-bulling cows before the start of service on May 1st. From May 15th, I noted daily each bulling cow. This was done because Ed (the vet) was due to visit on the 28th and cows bulling from 15th to the 21st could be estrumated to pull their next heat forward 10 days, and thus condense service. We will do the same with the cows bulling from 21st to 28th.

12 to 16 cows a day
Put another way, we are pulling cows that, if left, would cycle in week 2 of service forward to week 1, and week 3 cows forward to week 2. So when I started to A.I at the beginning of May, I was busy serving 12 to 16 cows a day.

Geoff (my manager) and Ed were keen that any lean, light, lame and or non-bulling cows identified by the 28th May should be put into a once a day milking group – to take the pressure off them and give them a better chance of getting in calf. I wasn’t keen but it hasn’t been too much of a problem, and very successful, as of the 20 cows we put in that group, there are only 4 cows I have not AI’d or been bulled to date ( 7th June).

90% served
By the 21st of May, I was targeting to have 93% of the herd AI’d but had only managed 83%. However, by 24th we had got 90% served.

When Ed visited again on the 24th, I had 25 cows for him to examine that had not been served. We put Cidrs in 6 and estrumated 8 and the other 11 he was happy that they were ok and would come bulling in the next few days.

Grass cover at 1,922kg/dm/ha
Away from the cows, grass growth has been steady. We made 6ha of round-bale silage on the 3rd of May, and another 15ha with the forage wagon on 12th May. By the 20th we took another 10ha out from the grazing platform and put that in the pit together with 13ha of grass away from the farm a mile up the road.

This year we have carried out 5ha of reseeding. These paddocks will have been grazed three times since the start of February but are always slow or poor leys.

Dales Contractors came and sprayed these fields off and 10 days later, direct drilled them with Matrix cool grass mix. These fields are now only just coming through and desperately need some rain – which is now falling as I tap away doing this blog.

So, with a dry May, my grass has grown really well until last week when it started to slow and with some ground as reseeds the farm cover is low at 1,922kg/dm/ha but I am happy that I have control.

I know I need to get the cover up, so two weeks ago I put corn up to 5kg in the parlour from 1kg. This had no effect at all on milk volume telling me that grass quality is good. This has enabled me to reduce the grass demand and help cover to increase.

On 4th June, I dropped the corn back to 2kg and, again, this has had no effect on milk volume. With the rain now falling and fertilizer on the fields I am sure growth will be good and get me back on track.

Dairy Monitor Farm May Update

THE dairy monitor farm steering group has now established the key focus areas for the monitor farm – originating from the lean management style process map which was created by Andrew Fletcher (Managing Director Fletcher & Co LLP) and Phil Asbury (Clive Hall Farm Manager), with support from Robert Wiseman Dairies and Dr Kay Carson.

Dr Kay Carson, Geoff Booth (Operations Manager, Fletcher & Co LLP), Phil Asbury and Andrew Fletcher, just having a quick catch up about Clive Hall’s KPI data collection

Dr Kay Carson, Geoff Booth (Operations Manager, Fletcher & Co LLP), Phil Asbury and Andrew Fletcher, just having a quick catch up about Clive Hall’s KPI data collection

The steering group has also identified the key performance indicators (KPI’s) within each aspect of the focus areas, and the relevant data sets to be recorded.

Collection of Clive Hall’s historical, current and future performance will give an overall picture of performance which will continue and monitor performances as changes in management practice are implemented.

Monitor Farm Focus areas:

- Cow Management; health and welfare, fertility, milking /overall cow performance and young stock
- Grass growth and Harvesting; grass growth performance, species and soil quality/analysis
- Asset care; machinery and parlour improvements/maintenance, buildings and tracks and efficiency of utilities

We are now developing the dairy monitor farm discussion group so that you can contribute to the monitor farm project by expressing your views, experiences and ideas. Through this discussion group and knowledge transfer you and your business could see the benefit.

The first meeting is expected to be held late July (full details to follow).

Who to contact if you want to attend:

If you are interested and would like more information on any of the above, please contact Lesley Innes, Facilitator, RDPE Northwest Livestock programme, Reaseheath College
Tel: 01270 625131 ext 308; mobile: 07788 721 943
Email: lesleyi@reaseheath.ac.uk