Walford reports success despite difficult year

Since our last update we have a spring in our step and our transition from indoor all year round to pasture based block calving is really paying off.

With 5,000 litres of milk from forage and the purchase of 34 new cows our results this year are looking great.

We celebrated some of our farm successes at our recent open day with LIC International. It was great to see how well the original Holstein and hybrids are adapting to the new environment. The cows went out on January 14 and we have seen pasture growth rates of 80 Kg DM, per hectare, per day allowing our concentrate use to reduce by over 50 per cent without affecting milk yield.

We are regularly testing grass quality and we use the cows to maximise grass growth. Some additional clover in the mix and re-seeding last year has meant our quality measures are above the national benchmarks.

With a constant eye on the rising costs of feed, bedding, energy and fuel, this has really helped keep the costs low and maintain our aim of a sustainable system.

The cows are healthy and producing great quality milk. Watching the improved cow health and attitude over the past two years has brought home the importance of good grazing and management. With 90 per cent of the cows in calf within our targeted six-week window, it means that calving is going to be very busy.

Our students are now coming towards the end of their first full year on site since the start of the pandemic. It has been great for them to get out onto trips and industry placement again. A big thank you to all of the super employers who have provided work experience placements this year. The students are now in the final stages of their assessments and looking forward to their next steps.

The team have been incredibly busy and we have been adapting our plans and keeping on our toes. Agile is the way forward. If you want more information about our progress visit our website and the LIC Facebook page.

Bronwen Bray is head of the Walford Campus at Herefordshire, Ludlow and North Shropshire College

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