Currently at Walford College Farm, most of the cows are dry. The close-up cows have been moved onto the standing hay, with the far-off cows grazing fresh grass. There are 68 cows still milking, which are predominately purchased cows. These milking cows are producing 18.5 litres with 5% fat and 3.5% protein. The Bactoscan was testing high but was fortunately just the result of a fault in the wash. This has since been repaired so the results are now back to normal.
Pasture, fodder beet and feed update
With pasture growth sitting at 45 KgDM and demand at 32 KgDM, the average farm cover has lifted to 2483 KgDM. Walford will cut silage to correct this. Pre-mowing is also underway to maintain quality for when the main body of cows have calved. Analysis on the first cut silage revealed it is low in NDF. To balance this out, the next cut needs more time to mature.
The fodder beet grew well through the summer and is set to outperform growth estimates. This presented a new plan of how and when to best utilise the extra growth. With the new feeding plan for the season and the changing cow type, the target for concentrate use is 1.2T/cow. It will be fed via a blend within the silage and beet ration, along with in-parlour feeding. Most of this concentrate cost has been locked it at £321/t average – this price covers from October to April.
Recommendations for Walford College Farm
- As a result of the rainfall, there is a lot of green growth at the base of the standing hay. Increase the amount of hay offered to the close-up cows to ensure they are not over-fed energy. Look to offer 3 – 4 KgDM of hay to balance this out.
- Ensure the new staff member on the farm is aware of the calving protocols before calving starts.
- With the feeding of fodder beet through the housed period, phosphorus and sodium are likely to be below the required levels of 0.3% and 0.2% respectfully. Ensure this is checked through analysis and balance it out with concentrates, or an alternative form is available to the cows.
- Before the cows are turned out onto the beet, it needs to be weighed for accurate allocation. This should be done as close to consumption as possible to get the best accuracy.