Earlier this year myself and Mark Causey organised a farmers trip to Ireland, with the primary focus of looking at how the Irish utilise grass in all forms. The trip included both beef and Dairy units all of which were utilising grass to its full potential either as grazed grass or foraged crop. 11 of us set out on what can only be described as the snowiest morning I have ever seen. At this point, I personally wasn’t sure if we would even make it to Bristol let alone Ireland but after a little bit of a rush we got to Dublin and loaded ourselves into two minivans and set out to our first visit.
Goodbye, 2017….where did that year go!? I have to say that although not financially tough as such due to milk price rises, it has still been one of the tougher years to manage cows over the last 20 years. Cast your mind back to the beginning of the year and predominantly dry weather although the winter and a mild April meant that we saw many people taking first cuts early. With grass at almost optimal quality things looked good for outright production from forage. As we all know Mother Nature dealt us a swift clip round the ear though just to remind us of our position in the pecking order.
Cornwall on 25 January, Devon on 1st February and Somerset on 6th February
Averages paint a very black and white picture. Unfortunately rarely is life that simple and so it would appear that this year is looking trickier than the averages suggest. There will be some fundamental pressure put on cows for anyone out grazing day and night now and over the last month, and to a certain degree even those out days. Grazing is poor in general and so most herds will have lost 2 litres on average meaning fresh and peak cows are probably 5 litres off already. Not a great start.