Archive: Farmer technical comment - Nick Haines

Published 29 August 14

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In Shropshire, Nick Haines milks 350 cross-bred cows on a share-milking agreement. The milking platform is 145 hectares, and cows and some youngstock are outwintered on a separate block.

Grass supply

Average Farm Cover       2,430kg

Pre-grazing cover            3,200kg

7-day grass growth          40kg DM/ha/day

Herd grass demand         40kg DM/ha/day

Cow performance

Milk yield                       14.5 litres/cow, 4.9% fat and 3.8% protein

Concentrate feed level    1kg/day

“I’ve just sprayed around 15ha off for reseeding, this is about 10% of the milking platform,” says Nick, who is in the first year of milking at his present unit. “It wasn’t until this summer I realised which pastures needed some work. All the seed heads made me aware of how little ryegrass we had in some of the swards! We’ll be grazing the reseed in about six weeks and I plan to get a couple of grazings off them this autumn.”

“We struggled with quality this season, as many people did, and growths haven’t been that great – we had a desperate patch in the summer with dry conditions. We soil tested the whole farm, found the pH out in many areas and as a result I’ve spread quite a bit of lime.

“As it’s my first year at the unit, I’m still getting a feel for the place and I’m working out what needs doing and where. One thing we have changed is our calving dates. We calved too early last year, in January, so next season we start on 7or 8February.”