Published 23 May 14

Week beginning 19 May – John Owen, Carmarthenshire

John Owen is farm manager at Gelli Aur College in Carmarthenshire. The college has 250 spring calving crossbreds, yielding 5,200 litres and grazing 88ha, with some of the grass silage needed brought in. This herd is run alongside a further 250 cow autumn calving herd producing 6,500 litres.

Grass supply

Average Farm Cover       1,966kg

Pre-grazing cover             2,983

7-day grass growth          77kg DM/ha/day

Herd grass demand         3,341kg DM/day or 47.5kg DM/ha/day

Cow performance

Milk yield and quality     25 litres/cow/day, 4.25% BF, 3.42% PR

Milk solids                    2kg

Concentrate feed level    4kg/cow


“We’ve had some excellent growth in recent weeks and it has been quite a challenge to keep the grass under control,” says John. “Last week, we were running a very high stocking rate of 6.6 cows/ha to maintain quality but this means we are flying a bit close to the wind. We took silage off on Friday and stocking rate is now down to 3.65 cows/ha.

“We are currently in a slight deficit on grass cover. But as you can see from demand versus growth, we will quickly recover and soon be in a position to shut up further paddocks for more silage.

 "Slurry will be applied to paddocks, as soon as we decide which ones we take out for the next cut. Fertiliser has been applied to harvested silage fields 245kg/ha of 25-0-13-7, and all grazing fields receive a blanket monthly cover of 110kg/ha of 34.5-0-0 last applied on Wednesday 7 May."