Dry weather is needed as maize harvest approaches
2:48pm Tuesday 8th October 2013 in Latest News
Studying weather forecasts has taken time out of work this week, as maize harvest looms on the horizon.
We have had little rain recently, with a mere 53.5mm during September including 22.5mm falling on one day.
However, it has been a real mixture – warm with sunshine, periods of cloud and drizzle, stillness and wind, and an electrical storm one night which woke us all up.
We now need some dry conditions to enable the maize to be gathered and ensiled without bringing mud out of the fields onto the roads.
Contractors are booked to harvest our maize as the process requires a forage harvester with a maize header. The trouble is, at this time of year all farmers with forage maize want their crop cut and ensiled at roughly the same time. During the week the clamp has been prepared, making sure the floor is clean and the sides lined with plastic sheeting.
This week, while Ruth was having a well-earned day off, Natalie did milk recording while Richard milked.
Natalie said that if I wanted a photo she would prefer I took it at the start, before she became splattered with cow poo! This happens because she has to stoop down to collect a milk sample from outlet points, situated close to the ground behind each cow.
After laboratory analysis, the results showed the level of udder infection in the herd is low, which is good.
Richard has now completed all the land work for the time being so he thought it would be an opportunity to update our herd pedigree register. This takes some time, as all the identification details of each newborn heifer calf have to be recorded in a book with that of their sire and dam. Things became a little muddled at one point, so Richard called an agent from Holstein UK to visit us to help sort things out.
There have been a few repair jobs to do. The straw chopper, used to bed up the cubicles, needed several blades replacing. This is a difficult process and needs both Richard and Ian to complete the task. And there was a water leak with water escaping from a spur off the main line into the farm.
Then, as Richard was doing an afternoon milking, dirty water started to come back via a drain and flood the pit in the milking parlour. It then took Richard and Ian two hours to clear the blockage, so tea was late that night.
On Stowell Farm, the small herd of Simmental /Aberdeen Angus suckler cows and calves was given its routine TB test. Melissa helped Kevin and Mark to pen the cattle for testing on Monday morning, not such an easy job as it is with dairy cows, which are handled regularly. Testing passed without incidents, so it was then just an anxious three-day wait for the result. On Thursday, the test sites on the cows’ necks were examined. Fortunately, the cattle showed no sign of infection so the farm remains clear of TB and can trade normally.
Another job was to sort the ewes into their family groups prior to introducing the rams. During the sorting process they were colour-coded and wormed, before being put into fields where the selected rams will soon be introduced.
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