Walford College Farm spring 2024 update

Due to wet conditions, Walford College Farm is still housing the cows at night, which is longer than planned. Subsequently, the farm is now 5ha behind the spring rotation planner. This, along with a slightly higher growth rate for this time of year, has increased the average farm cover through the middle of March. With a soil temperature of 9.7 degrees at 10cm plus nitrogen application, this growth is only going to rise.

Walford College Farm Spring Rotation Planner

Walford has increased grass allocation to get the average farm cover back under control. They’re offering the cows 10 kg DM of grass, 1.5 – 2 kg DM of fodder beet, 4 kg of concentrates and 2 kg DM of grass silage.

The herd is currently producing 16L/cow with 5.1% fat and 3.65% protein. This average is being pulled down by the bought-in cows from the autumn block. The cows that calved down in autumn are averaging 18L per cow.

The in-calf heifers are out on the remaining fodder beet and silage, and have been there for the last 35 days. The calves are now out on grass. They’ve adjusted well, with growth rates continuing to rise and an average weight at the last weighing of 202kg at 6 months of age. The calves were vaccinated for coccidiosis before turn-out.

The herd’s 6-week in-calf rate is 83.5%, with final pregnancy testing planned for the first week of April. Walford has observed only a small number of potentially cycling cows, so hope the empty rate will be single figures.


  • With the current growth rates and average farm cover, increase grass allocation up to 14-15 kg DM or bring additional stock onto the milking platform. This will help to get the average farm cover dropping again heading into balance/magic day.
  • The date at which the farm reaches balance/magic day is likely to be earlier than first planned. If the first round isn’t completed and the average farm cover is above 1950, the farm will need to make silage early to control the feed wedge.
  • Do additional pasture walks during the week to keep up to date with growth and covers. This enables the staff to react quicker to changes in the growth rates.
  • Look to put the calves on the reseeds. They are passing the pull test, but the soil is still too soft for the cows currently.


Contact Pasture to Profit consultant Sean Chubb for more information on Walford College Farm’s journey.

by Michelle Lamerton
International Marketing Coordinator
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