Walford update – October 2021

We look at the latest news and update on Walford College farm’s performance.

Current situation:

With 20 cows left to calve by the end of the month, calving is shaping up to be successful.

The 6 week calving rate was 88%, this was achieved through a tight calving block from the heifers after having a 70% 6 week in-calf rate from the cows. 

There have only been two cows with milk fever and the metrichecks are back to being clear after a few dirty cows in the second week. 

The milking cows are being brought inside at night and will be fully housed by October 20 at PSM -30 so they are settled for mating. The move to bring them in at night was made after the dry matter percentage dropped following the rain. Since moving the cows in at night the milk production has lifted with fats and protein increasing to 4.5% and 3.5% respectfully. 

The milking cows are being offered 5kgs concentrates, 5kgs/DM of grass 5kgs/DM of grass silage and 3.5kgs/DM of fodder beet. When the cows are housed fully maize silage will be introduced to the ration. The dry cows are fully housed on a straw yard. 

The early born autumn calves (Holstein Jersey crosses) have been reweighed and have grown at 0.9Kg per day since birth.

LIC's recommendations:

  • From now to the start of mating monitor health status of cows and move quickly to improve any issues.
  • Leave cows calving in October and light condition cows in the straw yard to reduce pressure and help with their condition scores.
  • With the plan to outwinter the heifers, continue to monitor grass growth and dry matter percentage to ensure there is enough feed on hand and that the heifers stay in an energy positive position through mating.
  • Have maize and grass silages analysed pre mating and throughout to ensure there is enough protein in the concentrate to meet cows requirements.

Book your place now for the second Walford open day this year. Visitors in July found the day extremely interesting and set some targets for the farm to achieve. Come along on November 17 and see how farm manager Tom Moore and his cows are performing. Registration is vital as lunch will be included. Please contact schubb@liceurope.com for more details. The day will run from 10.30 am to 2.00 pm and subjects covered will include:

  • Calf rearing
  • Mating management
  • Cubic housing options
  • Winter feeding strategy
by Kim Erikson
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