Farmer technical comment - Phil Feeney

Published 6 June 14

Week beginning 2 June – Phil Feeney, Cheshire

Phil Feeney milks a 450 cow spring block calving herd and a 160 cow summer calving herd on about 300 hectares in a Farm Partnership in Cheshire. The two herds are calved down in nine week blocks, and youngstock are outwintered. 

Grass supply

Average Farm Cover       2,200kg

Pre-grazing cover             2,700kg

7-day grass growth          50kg DM/ha/day

Cow performance

Milk yield and quality     24 litres/cow/day for the spring calving herd, 14 litres/cow/day for the   summer calving  herd. 3.79% BF, 3.18% PR

Concentrate feed level    5kg/cow for the spring calving herd, 2kg/cow for the summer calving herd


“We have some pretty wet ground here and with the wet conditions we’ve been having grazing has been a bit of a challenge,” says Phil. “We’ve had to duck and dive and get in where we can. It’s not so much been an issue of availability but access, as conditions are so wet. We have taken every available opportunity to pre –mow, where conditions allow, to make sure we’re reaching the residuals .

“I think the 10.5 ME in this week’s grass analysis results are a sign of the stress the grass is under - we’ve been water logged for the past two weeks in some parts of the farm. This is a wet farm, and we have about 10-15% of land that is drier, and that has been our saving grace, but if it continues wet over the weekend the cows will have to come in again. The problem is that conditions have been wet for longer than the rotation length so we’re having to go back into paddocks poached at earlier grazings.

“We did manage to get our first cut before the weather broke but I’ve really noticed the grass is taking longer to come back, no doubt due to the wet conditions.


“We’ve just completed our first three weeks of inseminating and have seen a 92% submission rate. We have been more proactive increasing cake to 5kg for the spring calving herd, giving fertility a boast, but primarily to help cows milk through this dip. I don’t want the cows to loose yield now, or they won’t get it back this season.”