Autumn is truly here but we rarely get a show here on the island, just the odd horse chestnut or line of beeches that the autumnal colours have touched. Leaves line our drive, skeletons of bare trees are already showing in the windblown mainly gorse manx banks that pass for hedgerows. Grass is blowing in the wind in the fields, bright green, but hopelessly wet now to take milking cows, really only fit for odd bunches of quietly grazing dry cows.
We aim to tighten the calving pattern in order to take advantage of our late grass and late, if any frosts. Having large numbers of drys and calving into the sheds would be ideal for us at this time of year. We have about 40 to 50% of the herd calving down now with still about 40 dry cows out. The ‘lows’ and heifers are still out grazing in the day though we are seeing more sore feet and stones in thin worn soles with their 1 mile to 2 mile daily walk . We have had about 8 inches of rain in the last two weeks so mud adds to the mix!!!!
Mud is our headache at the moment, it is everywhere! We need acres of concrete and the problem is at present is where to scrape the mud and stone to? Not through the sheds and cows, to visit our separator, fouling it up, whilst it tries to sort the muck out!!!
The PD session went well the other day. I was told to say here that our little experimentation group of Red and Whites (mainly Swedish Reds at the moment) were all in calf, but I must add that they aren’t very personable and not so pretty as our Black and Whites. They have though, which seems out of character, visited the new ‘out of parlour’ feeders really well, we still have loads of cows to learn and ATL are revisiting later this week in order to fine tune the system!
Have you found the fertility better for your Swedish Reds than your Holstiens and how have they compared on production? Great website by the way.
Fertility – currently services 1.5 to conception, 55% to first service which is good for us. They are all first or second calvers which might distort the figures, also a relatively small sample size as yet!
Just had NMR end of year for them, heifers averaged 7,222 at 4.11bf and 3.44p – no cow figures yet!
The BJurist cross Omans seem to be performing the best at the moment, 2nd calvers averaging 40 litres a day, fed about 8 kg of cake a day.
We are pleased with their results and continuing the experiment, crunch time will start when we start milking the third crosses!
Thanks very much for the compliments!