LIC | Time to refocus before calving starts

Time to refocus before calving starts

At this stage of the season most spring calving farms are (as well as enjoying time off milking) now starting to make sure that they are organised before the start of calving.






James Thomas,
FarmWise Consultant

This is always a time of great optimism heading into a new season with expectations of a positive start.

Obviously it takes more than optimism to get off to a good start and now is the time to see if targets have been reached during the dry period.

Firstly cow condition score (CS). Are your mixed age cows at CS 5 and R2 and R3 heifers at 5.5? If not why not and what could be done differently next season? Secondly what is the average pasture cover (APC) and how does it relate to the feed budget targets that will determine feeding levels and supplement use for the start of calving? Thirdly use this information to set up a first round planner that will guide you from the start of calving until ‘balance date’ when grass growth exceeds demand.

Doing, monitoring and implementing a feed budget will allow time for any inputs that may be needed or what management changes that may be required in order to meet farm targets. Information is key.

And to the farm itself. Repair and maintenance work should be well under way by now. Fix up fences, and ensure power levels are adequate. There is nothing worse than ‘free ranging’ stock. Calf sheds should be clean and the new bobby calf loading facilities ready to go. Make sure machine checks have been done and any recommendations followed. And for those of you with new staff, make sure they are up to date in farm policy and procedures and any upskilling is done before the pressure comes on. Communication is the key here. Knowing what to do or who to contact can save a lot of time and money in the long run.

And most importantly try and make the most of the dry period with some well-deserved time off. Starting the calving period relaxed and refreshed will ensure the best chance of the positive start.

-James Thomas, FarmWise Consultant.

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