There has been a tangible change in the season over these last few weeks with, the temperature dropping noticeably, and routine on the farm is following suit. The cows are being housed again at night, as grazing wasn’t delivering on yield and we don’t want to compromise peak yield or fertility.
We are coming to the end of calving with a final total of 207 heifers, which is more than we had expected. Fortunately we have sufficient housing due to the work we did on our heifer-rearing unit last year. Calf feeding is gradually slowing down as we begin to wean the heifers, which we are now doing at double their birth weight.
As we wind down with this year’s calves, we are looking to start heat detection in anticipation of serving for next year. Happily, our spring-block is looking a little healthier; the vet scanned our heifers which had been running with the bull, and 37 are now in calf, including the eight heifers which we bought in last year.
This has been a bitter-sweet month, as we have sadly lost our oldest cow, Suker, at just short of 20 years of age. She had 14 calves and produced over 134,000 litres of milk. However, we are also celebrating one year of (fairly) successful multi-tasking, on the part of Matt and Liz, as little David has just reached his first birthday.
As we look ahead to the closing of the year, our next TB test looms closer, and we can only pray that it goes favourably. However, we can at least note that the most recent milk cheque showed some improvement, with a price rise of 0.03 pence per litre!