The mixed autumn weather continues to pose challenges for the dairy and beef sector. The wet weather did however somewhat help autumn grass growth and improve yields of third cut silage and also it is helping to extend the grazing season. This will go some way to support fodder shortages.
Graze down grass tight in September and early October and top any cow-paths and weeds. This has the benefit of facilitating a better, more even spring flush of grass that will be of higher quality.
Apply slurry before the start of the closed period. It is becoming increasingly more important to apply the slurry in an environmentally friendly way. When slurry is applied below the canopy of the crop this helps to harness more of the nitrogen in the slurry, reduces carbon emissions, reduces smell, eliminates the contamination of the grass with slurry and will assist in reducing fertiliser bills on farm. Abbey Machinery have a suite of Slurry Applicators from Dribble Bars, Vertical Trailing Shoes and Disc Injectors. Once the slurry season is over ensure the tanker and applicator is cleaned down and left in a condition to use next spring.
Carry out a winter feed budget to assess any gaps in feed requirements. Once it has been determined that the are any shortfalls start implementing a plan of what can be done to bridge these gaps with locally available wholesome feeds, concentrates, straw, by-products etc. Early decisions help to prevent longer term shortages where options may be less available.
Test your forages to assess their quality and this starts as the building block to formulate a balanced ration for the various categories of stock on farm. Once the diet is formulated it is important to present the feeds to stock in a way that allows them to harness all available nutrients from the forage. Abbey Machinery have a fleet of 19 different diet feeders to assist the rapid mixing and processing of feeds, while presenting the feed to the animals in a form that promotes consistent high intakes.
Now is a good time to carry out any essential maintenance of Diet Feeder on farm, to make it winter ready.
Carry out the appropriate autumn / winter dosing plan to cater for both internal and external parasites. Maintain housing in a way that minimises and unnecessary diseases like mortellaro. Hygiene is paramount. Keep water troughs clean and ensure there is good airflow in sheds.