Building covers at Lydney Park

Published 24 July 15

Keith Davis, AHDB Dairy Board Member and, herd manager at Lydney Park Farm, where they have about 880 predominantly Jersey cross cows in two, once a day, milking herds.

This year’s milking platform is 224ha. Stocking rate on the platform is 3.6 cows per hectare. Other crops grown for the cattle are maize, fodder beet and a kale/rape hybrid. The arable/winter crop area is about 110ha. The plan is to expand cow numbers to 1,150 by 2017.

Average farm cover        2,170kg DM/ha

Pre-grazing cover             2,900kg DM/ha

7 day grass growth          46kg DM

Demand                               46kg DM – we’re beginning to think about building covers

Concentrate feed level 1kg/cow/day

“Up until the last week, when things have begun to dry up a bit, grazing has gone well this season,” says Keith. “Two years ago, we suffered some pretty bad compaction in the really wet conditions and as a result, last summer we found the ground dried up quickly and the grass just stopped growing. This year, we’ve not had the same issue and growth has performed consistently well.

“We have oceans of silage after having a pretty good first cut and taking plenty of bales since. We baled anything with covers over 3,000kg DM/ha, but now with growth just dropping we’ll look to graze cover at this level if we have to.

“We’re also looking to build covers. The aim is to have 2,600kg of DM/ha by 1 or 2 October, to give us a 60 day rotation, which should take us to 1 December. We’ve only managed to graze that late once since we started grazing in 2008, as the ground is heavy and wet, but it’s good to have something to aim for.”