Well, with the end of calving in sight, and the days starting to get longer, we are looking forward to mating and making sure things are on track for it.
For us this year things are going to be a little different. We have decided that we are going to milk all our 2 and 3 year old cows OAD. There are a few reasons behind this move, we want to:
- Reduce feed demand and therefore reduce the need for extra brought in feed.
- Improve their mating and eliminate the need for pre-mating intervention.
- Reduce our time in the shed in the afternoons.
So we are doing this for both lifestyle and economic reasons.
I would like to hear your thoughts on this.
The other thing, I touched on this in my earlier blog, is a change in our mating plans. We are going to use all polled A2A2 Jersey bulls. Yip, I can see you all thinking we are mad. Well, we are, LOL!
The reasons we are doing this are:
- I hate dehorning calves.
- I foresee our markets putting pressure on us to do so. For example, McDonalds’ shift to buying only free-range eggs. How long will it be before our markets say, “We only want milk from polled dairy cows”? There have already been some noises made in the USA about this.
- It’s one less cost to us.
I would be keen to hear your thoughts on this too.
The other thing we start thinking about around mating is cropping. I’ve heard lots of farmers saying that due to the low payout they aren’t going to grow as much maize on farm. For us this will not change, maize grown on farm is our cheapest form of supplement. If you don’t grow it what will you fill the gap with? It also fits in with our regrassing program. Plus, with a looming drought, we are going to plant an extra 4ha of summer crop; we are currently looking at using Spitfire rape.
Last, but not least, during these tough financial times talk to your neighbours and look after each other. If there is something wrong get help…….. we are all in this together!!