Walford update – March 2021

The latest on how Walford College farm is  performing.

Current situation:

The cows are producing an average of 20L/cow with fat percentage at 4.4% and protein percentage at 3.2%. Production dropped as the cows started on poorer quality silage just prior to turning out, and since turn out, production has lifted back up.

All milking cows are receiving an average ration of 7KgDM maize, 8kgDM grass and an average of 4.7Kg concentrates. The dry cows have been taken off the fodder beet and housed for calving. The milking cows are out day and night to ensure the platform can be fully grazed within the first round. All the heifers are outside moving around the support land.

Mating ended on the 14th of February, 6 week pregnancy testing showed 70% in-calf for this period over both the heifers and the cows. This is below the target set at the beginning of the season but still a great result as the herd moves to a single block. With good submission and non return rates throughout the last six weeks, there is still potential for a good empty rate in the final pregnancy test.

A full review of the sexed semen has shown that the results were better than first thought with a conception rate of 60%. 

Walford College farm UK soil temperature
This photo shows soil temperature taken on the farm during the visit.

LIC's recommendations:

  • With low demand per ha currently, increase demand by increasing the grass allocation to 12KgDM/head. This will help ensure that demand is 14KgDM/ha above growth.
  • Hold off nitrogen application until mid to late March, and when it comes time to apply, go with a lighter application (20-30kgN/ha instead of 40kgN/ha) as the response will be greater from higher growth rates and soil temperature.
  • To promote grazing in the R1 heifers look to give them a fresh break each day, this will help the younger and smaller calves maximise their weight gains.
  • Look to take soil samples on the paddocks that will be used for maize this year.
by Katrina Younger
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