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Ian Garnett: 'I am looking for tips to graze and maintain solids'

The month of May is nearly over and I doubt I can remember a period of such settled silage-making weather.

Yields appear good and quality, I imagine, is above average, although it is often rare for such weighty crops to deliver top-end analysis. I dare say time will tell. Maize crops look to be getting away well.

 

Our trial of mixing the liquid fertiliser and the pre-emergence herbicide has shown some interesting results. Weather at the time of application was showery, so good. Broadly speaking, the best results are on fields where application was about 10 days post-sowing.

 

A brave farmer may take the view that no more herbicide is needed, but with us, I suspect we will do a low-cost follow-up of broadleaf spray, ideally not letting weeds get much past the two leaf stage.

 

Our vet recommended we do a bulk milk worm sample. We were somewhat surprised to see bulk tests results higher than we imagined.

 

Seemingly at that level, treatment should see a two-litre daily milk increase; potentially big numbers.

 

After a suitcase of free pens, jackets and overalls arrived at our door, we relented and promptly wormed all three herds this week. What I forgot to ask was when do the two litres arrive? However, the good news is the pens work nicely.


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On the worming front, our youngstock policy is to turn out for ideally three to four weeks of good grass growing, to allow a worm cycle to complete.

 

We then bolus with a sustained release bolus, which represents good value compared to pulse release and some immunity build up too, then finally a housing pour on.

 

Luckily, fluke appears to not be a problem for now, but bruised fingers hamper our barbecue exploits.

 

Production within the herds appears good, with about 15 litres coming from grazing. Grass growth here at the end of May is very good, so we have started pulling an odd forward field out of the rotation.

 

The only drawback within our plan is butterfat levels are low (bearing in mind our milk contract base price incurs a penalty if below 4 per cent).

 

With one herd, we reluctantly introduced a low level (12kg) buffer of maize silage/grass silage and chopped straw. It goes a little bit against the grain, shutting up grazing to introduce a buffer simply to correct solids, but time will tell if it is successful.

 

With that said, if anyone has any tips to allow me to graze and maintain solids within a black and white herd I am all ears.

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