Management System Event
Today, myself and Grasslands hosted an event at Clive Hall Farm to discuss the management system used on their units.
Fourteen farmers attended the event and some good discussion and debate was held specifically around the topic of grassland management, one of the key ingredients to the extensive grazing systems operated across all Grasslands farms.
Geoff Booth, Operations Director for Grasslands joined me to take the attendees on a farm walk. We discussed the performance of the herd and shared the challenging objectives that we have set ourselves for this unit for 2011. These targets all focus around increasing the margin per litre due to the lean management principles that are being implemented across many aspects of the farming operations.
The 2011 objectives for Clive Hall Farm are as follows:
- To lift pre grazing height in order to grow more grass and increase the length of the grazing round
- To replace 100 tonnes DM shortfall (due to current drought) as economically as possible
- To rear calves on site up to a weaning weight of 90 kg
- Replacement animal to arrive first week of January
- 45% heifers reared (v 55% bull calves)
- Empty rate 9% at 10 weeks increased from 9% at 12 weeks last year
- Cull rate of 16%
- Milk yield; 5,600 litres (increase of 400 litres from previous year)
- Grass production; 13.25 tons DM/ha
- Grass grazed; 11.5 tons DM/ha
- 500 kg wheat feed/dairy concentrates/cow
- 4 pence /litre labour charge
I concluded the meeting explaining that:
‘In order to meet our 2011 targets and challenges it is important to maintain the high standards we have already set at Clive Hall. We need to achieve the ‘empty rate’ target to enable us to cull the lower achieving cows’.
‘If this objective is met, 5% of the lowest achieving cows will be replaced therefore helping us to meet the increased milk yield target’.
My final point for the evening was that:
‘Although we are on target for grass growth, by looking closer at nutrient management planning and our reseeding policy, this will help reduce the annual forage shortfall’.