Calving has finished up here in Abbeyleix, with the last cow calving two weeks ago.

The last three cows had heifer calves, so hopefully they will be sold in the next few weeks. The last of the bull calves left the farm in the week just gone, so we are nearly finished with calves here.

Our own heifers and bulls will be weaned this week. They are only getting two litres of milk anyway and are now eating 2kg of calf crunch per day.

We will move them on to the contract rearers a week or two after weaning. We will also be up and down to the contract rearers this week as the maiden heifers are starting their synchronisation programme.

The controlled internal drug release (CIDR) inserts are going in Monday morning and they will be fixed-time artificially inseminated next Tuesday evening.

We ended up selling just over 200t of silage. I was surprised at how much was actually left in the pit. I have the new silage walls ordered.

I am going to put 13ft-high walls at the back and move our existing 8ft walls to along the sides.

Even though we are shortening the pit, we might not be losing that much capacity with the extra height in the walls. I priced the company I bought the 8ft walls off in 2018 and I was shocked to hear they are two and a half times dearer now and the 13ft walls are six and a half times dearer than the 8ft.

So, I knew I had to price around. The company I ended up going with were nearly half the price for the 13ft walls. This is another example of the crazy price increases we have seen in the last few years and shows the value of pricing around.

The price of milk needs to increase to make re-investing in our farms viable, when we have to deal with this type of cost increase.

It’s great to be finally able to say the weather the last couple of weeks has been fantastic.

Dad finally got all the barley sown. It just goes to show what wind and sun can do, the fields went from water lying in spots to ideal conditions, in a week. He disced a few wetter fields ahead of ploughing and that helped dry them up well. Dad also has the winter barley now fully up to date with fertiliser and spraying.

We also did some repair work on paddocks that we made a few tracks in spreading fertiliser and slurry.

We disced the spots, spread grass seed on them and rolled them. The patches should be unnoticeable in a few months.

I also got fertiliser out on the rest of the silage ground, the latest ever I might add. I put on 60 units of nitrogen and potash per acre. The drier ground that got the fertiliser on 11 March has a great crop of grass on it.

I think we will be cutting around 20 May, so I didn’t want to have too much nitrogen out on the later spread ground, as we want to cut it all at the same time.

Magic day was very slow at arriving this year but I think it is finally here

The ground that got no fertiliser was very hungry looking and there is such a good crop on what got the early fertiliser, I wouldn’t think any of the fertiliser was lost.

We have stopped feeding silage and are back to 4kg of nuts. I will stay on 4kg for the breeding season as our cows are now averaging 30 litres per day, and I feel our type of cow benefits from it.

I am allocating 18kg DM grass per cow, as at our recent discussion group meeting on our farm it was determined that our cows should be allocated a total intake of 22kg DM because of their high output.

On my last grass measure growth was 50kg DM/ha/day and demand is now set at 60kg DM/ha.

Magic day was very slow at arriving this year but I think it is finally here. The latest quality results from Tirlán are: 4.26% fat, 3.56% protein and SCC of 77,000.