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Our "rocket fuel" for cows is paying off

Farming | Published:

A lot has happened at Walford in the last couple of months.

Iain Canning is farm manager at Walford Farm

As I said in early April, the late lactation cows were not appreciating the unseasonably cold weather but thankfully the weather has settled and is warmer and grass is growing away well – so well that on April 12 we mowed 30ha of grass and made some top quality silage that we have started feeding to the early lactation cows.

This silage has been analysed and has come back with dry matter content at 43 per cent, protein 19.9 per cent, and D-Value 71.7 per cent. I can only describe this as rocket fuel for cows.

We are now feeding this to the early lactation cows with a feed saving in bought concentrate and an increase in milk yield.

The main cut of silage was completed over the May Bank Holiday weekend with a huge crop of grass being ensiled ready for the winter ahead. Unfortunately the sun didn’t shine as much as we had hoped for, resulting in grass that will be a little damper than I would have liked, but quality will still be good.

Maize is in the ground now and is desperate for a drink. With any luck it will rain every night for a month and be glorious sunshine during the day, but that is highly unlikely.

On the machinery side of the farm, we have now taken delivery of two nearly-new tractors to add to the fleet. One of these tractors is fitted with a fully vario gearbox and auto-steer and field mapping technology that will help move us into the 21st century.

Students on the farm have been very helpful over the last month. Be it milking, lambing, feeding calves, everyone has stuck in and done all that we have asked of them. They have even been spreading muck and ploughing before we planted maize. It is reassuring to know that the future of agriculture is going to be in safe hands.

The next big event at Walford will be Open Farm Sunday which will be happening on Sunday, June 9.

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Gates will be open from 10am till 3pm and everyone is welcome. There’s going to be machinery on show, so come and see the cows getting milked and even watch some sheep being shorn.

If you ever wondered how a cow gets a pedicure, that will be on show as well.

Come along next Sunday and see what happens on the farm – we all look forward to seeing you.

Iain Canning is farm manager at Walford Farm

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