Farmer comment George Brown

Published 13 March 15

George Brown is herd manager at Cairnhead Farm in Ainstable, Cumbria. The herd of 390 spring calving cows are mostly New Zealand Friesian, with some Jersey Crosses, yielding 490kg MS (5,500 – 6,000L) per year. At an elevation of about 183 metres (600ft), the milking platform is 120ha and there are a further 60ha is used for youngstock and silage ground.

Average farm cover        1,850kg DM/ha

Pre-grazing cover             2,200kg DM/ha - “This is alarmingly low,” according to George, “but cows are hitting residuals so we should be sorted for quality going into mating.”

7-day grass growth          around 5kg DM/ha

Concentrate                       6kg/cow/day

“We are roughly working on offering the cows 6kg concentrate, 5kg grass and 6kg silage at the moment, but they might be eating a bit more silage and a bit less grass as more are joining the milking herd each day," says George.

“Our main focus at present is holding the grazing round length and sticking to our spring rotation planner. We are allocating 1.2ha/day to milkers this week, which puts us on an 80-day round on the current platform. The allocated area is increased weekly, with the aim of being on a 20-day round by 20 April.

“Turnout went well this year and we got out three weeks earlier than usual. Ground conditions were excellent and we’ve also had minimal to no ground damage so far this year. Grazing conditions have also been excellent so we’ve had great utilisation and are hitting residuals of around 1,400 –  1,500kg  DM/ha.”