Waking early most mornings to collect the cows for milking I sometimes head off in the dark thinking here we go again, ground hog day. But what I love about my job is each day is different and as much as we do plan days, weeks or years there are so many variables in dairy farming. Plans sometimes need to be changed. The planning is still very valuable as it provides us with a base line to work from.
This year we planned to harvest as much silage as we could. In early September it looked like the perfect year to build some fodder reserves, the grass growing well and we had a strong milk price to pay for lots of fodder conservation. Pit silage (wilted green grass stored in a compacted stack covered with a plastic tarp to keep the water and air out) can last for years and provides valuable reserves for years when fodder is in short supply.
Like so often the best laid plans…..
Pasture growth rates through late September and early October have been around a 75% of our average for this time of the year. As a result we don’t have as much surplus fodder to make into silage as we would like. Nevertheless we have kicked off our fodder harvesting season this week making a small stack of silage.
There is still plenty of time this season to build some reserves and we will continue with our plan to harvest as much fodder as we can. Conserving surplus fodder aids with risk management and helps to make our business more resilient .