William Kingston April Update
Close up silage ground
- It’s priority ground for slurry
- Top up with protected urea or a compound as required
- Aim for cutting in mid-May
Follow nutrient management plan
- Use soil sample results to plan fertiliser for 2022
- Spread lime where needed
- Make best use of slurry by spreading on silage ground and low index fields
Weigh autumn born calves
- Cows and calves can be weighed for the BEEP scheme
- See how calves performed over the winter
- Identify potential replacement heifers that are performing well
The cows and calves are out at grass full time since 19th March. On 2nd of April the bull and heifer calves have been separated with their cows. They have grazed a significant amount of the silage ground before being moved over to the out farm.
The in calf heifers went to grass on 26th March and will stay grazing around the home block of land.
The silage ground which had previously received slurry has now got 3 bags per acre of 24-2.5-10.
The farm cover on the home block was 1155 kg DM/ha on 20th March with a growth rate of 18 kg DM/ha since the previous cover on 13th March and a demand of 100 kg DM/ha. There were 12 days ahead and William grazed 64% of the silage block.
The out farm had an average farm cover of 1094 kg DM/ha, with a growth rate of 28 kg DM/ha and a demand of 12 kg DM/ha for the 18 animals that were grazing there. They had 91 days of grass ahead, which will change when the remaining autumn cows and calves move over there. 33% of the land block was grazed up until the end of March, and two paddocks have already being closed up for silage. These fields have gotten slurry and 3 bags per acre of 24-2.5-10. The re-growths are excellent on paddocks that have already been grazed.
Soil samples were taken on the farm earlier this year and a nutrient management plan was developed. There has been a significant improvement in the soil fertility status of the farm since the previous soil sample results were taken, which can be attributed to the amount of lime that William spread on the farm last year.
65% of the farm still has a pH of less than 6.2 which will require more lime, but this figure was at 100% in spring 2021. The phosphorus levels on the farm have improved with 61% in index 3 or 4, whereas this figure was only 15% last year. Similarly, the potassium indexes have improved with 90% of the farm in index 3 or 4, whereas this figure was only 50% last year.
This will result in significant fertiliser savings for William as he will be getting a better response from the chemical nitrogen that he spreads on the farm, along with the extra release of phosphorus from the soil. As his chemical phosphorus limits will be lower, he will not have to buy as much chemical phosphorus either.
Lime will continue to be a priority on the farm over the coming year. Most of the slurry and farmyard manure that is produced on the farm will be required to replace nutrient offtakes on silage ground, but any remaining organic manures can be used to help build low index paddocks. The best compound that William can spread will be 18-6-12 as it is well balanced to replace grazing offtakes from livestock.
William has 24-2.5-10 purchased already which is all spread. He also has 1t of 18-6-12 and the availability of protected urea is an issue locally.
There is only one paddock on the farm that is suitable for oversowing clover that has a pH of over 6.2 and is in index 3 or higher for both phosphorus and potassium.
Three heifers were slaughtered on 14th March at 20 months of age. They averaged a carcass weight of 324 kg (ranging from 294 to 362 kg) and an average grade of R+4-.
The cattle on the farm were weighed on 18th March. The 2020 autumn heifers (11) averaged 514 kg, having gained 1.02 kg since their last weighing on 4th December.
The 2021 spring born heifers (2) were an average weight of 409 kg, having gained 0.85 kg/day since the 4th of December. The 2021 spring born bulls (3) averaged 456 kg, having gained 1.37 kg/day over the winter.
The 2021 autumn heifers were an average weight of 252kg and they gained 1.11 kg/day over the winter. The 2021 autumn bulls were an average weight of 287 kg and they gained 1.27 kg/day over the winter.