Farmer comment 11 September

Ben Walker milks a 166 strong Holstein Friesian autumn calving herd, on 69ha of grassland in Attleborough, Norfolk. He rents a further 18ha for grazing in-calf heifers and about 30ha of maize will be drilled this year.  

Average Farm Cover       2,258kg DM/ha    

Pre-grazing cover             2,691kg DM/ha  

7-day grass growth          75.4kg DM/ha/day

Demand                          40.4kg DM/ha/day

Concentrate feed level      4kg/head


“The low group, 48 cows, is grazing day and night and gets a buffer feed in the middle of the day,” explains Ben. “We officially started calving on 1 September, but some of the cow’s calendars were a little ahead of schedule and we have 76 of the 166 cows calved at present. These fresh calvers are fully housed.

“Due to the unusually wet August, there is a lot of grass on the platform. So I’ve brought 34 dry cows and 48 bulling heifers onto the milking platform to manage the grass going into the autumn. All these animals will be kept at grass for as long as ground conditions allow. I’ve also got 14ha shut up to make big bale silage next week.”

Ben and his family are kindly hosting this autumn’s AHDB Dairy Research Day on Wednesday 21 October. The day will consist of a number of presentations at stations around the farm from leading researchers and AHDB specialists on topics which are of importance to the levy payers and their staff in the Eastern counties of England.

Topics to be covered on the day include:

  • Improving protein efficiency - Professor Liam Sinclair
  • Rearing for the future - AHDB Dairy's Dr Jenny Gibbons and David Ball
  • Controlling Johne’s disease - Karen Bond
  • Establishing and growing lucerne - Professor Chris Reynolds
  • Dealing with dry soils - SureRoot project

To book a place, contact Jenna Porch on 024 7647 8690 or email detailing number of attendees.