Dairy Update - Grass budgeting, selling cull cows, buying straw and hoping for more rain


Strip-grazing, grass budgeting, purchasing straw, slaughtering cull cows and more.

Dairy Update - Grass budgeting, selling cull cows, buying straw and hoping for more rain

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Strip-grazing, grass budgeting, purchasing straw, slaughtering cull cows and more.

Name: Louise Crowley
Age: 23 years old
Operation: Farm partnership with father in Tullovin, Croom, Co. Limerick.
Farm: 150 cows, 42 heifers and 40 yearling heifers.
Production: Butterfat 4.20; Protein 3.22; Lactose = 4.50; Cows doing 14L/day; SCC = 220; Meal = 4kg



This week
Little rain has come again this week. Things were looking better/greener a week ago. Silage ground is growing away, so I'm hoping there will be a good second cut from it next month.

Cows are being strip-grazed at the moment to stretch grass and give the rest of the farm a chance to grow. Silage is still being fed out in the paddocks. Cows are getting a third of a paddock and three bales morning and evening. Heifers and calves are still on bales of hay in round feeders out in their paddocks.

Seven more high cell count cows were sold in Kilmallock Mart on Monday. Prices were okay. There was a lot of cull cows there on Monday.

We took seven cows and a Hereford bull to ABP in Rathkeale last Wednesday. O-grades made €2.60/kg and P-grades made €1.80/kg. The bull made €2.50/kg.

This week the main jobs have been keeping all the animals fed. I’ve been able to cut feeding down to twice in the day at the moment. I managed to get a load of wheaten straw, 34 bales in total, from Cecilstown, Co. Cork. I was lucky to get it for €25/bale.

Plans for the week ahead
I'm hoping very much for some rainfall and good grass growth.

Two cows to go to the factory in Rathkeale on Wednesday again and I might sell some of the 14 Hereford calves that are still here.

Otherwise, we will keep the cows and heifers happy and fed. Hoping to get another load of straw in the next week too.

Name:
Patrick Mc Carthy
Age: 35
Farm: Milking 40 crossbred Jersey herd
Performance:
Butterfat 4.59; Protein 3.75; kg/MS/Cow = 1.51; Cows doing 17.6L/day; SCC = 202; Meal = 4kg; 16% dairy nut



This week
I did a grass budget on August 7th and here are the figures:
  • Farm cover = 1576;
  • Daily growth = 64.7;
  • Cover LU = 358;
  • Total grazing area available = 9.1ha;
  • Demand/ha = 61.5;
  • Long term silage taken out = 7.71ha.
As you can see I have a fair bit of grass so I marked another paddock for silage. I haven't done a grass budget in a while and I was unsure if the daily growth rate was accurate or not, but I was talking to a neighbour and he said he was recording growth rates of around 60 as well.

My next grass budget will give me a better reflection on growth. The cows are getting a bigger allocation of grass as I have dropped meal from 8kg to 4kg. Overall, I'm very happy with cow performance. There has been a slight increase in SCC but I will go through the cows and find the problem cow.

On Friday I hit the road for lovely Kilmore, Co. Wexford to attend my cousin’s 30th birthday and catch up with all my relations and friends. Had a great weekend and it was great to get a few days off.

Plans for the week ahead
I must do another grass budget. It's looking like it's going to get a bit cooler so I have to predict ahead, with lower growth rates on the Agrinet programme, and see how that affects my grass budget.

I must also catch up with fertilizer. It's that time of the year where I will have to build up grass. I would want to be building up to have a cover/LU of 300 from now on. Presently, cover is over 300 so I’m in a good position. I will probably blanket spread the farm with 18-6-12 but I will get a bit of advice first.

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