November Diary: Calving is finally over at Duchy College 

Calving is finished at last and we’re starting with our pre-breeding checks. We’ve calved more animals than we need so we are taking the opportunity to select out our poor performers and stay at 210 in milk. 

Next year we’re aiming to start calving one month later in September to coincide with the students coming back and when there’s more forage in the clamps. It will also allow more grazing time in the summer.  

We’re pleased with how cows have transitioned this year which has been linked to moving cows inside and onto a transition diet four weeks before calving, rather than having them at grass and on a nut. The new diet has all of the key ingredients that will be in the milking ration so the rumen is conditioned well. 

We have started putting tail paint on the cows for pre-breeding checks, It will give us a chance to see what’s cycling before we start breeding properly and we’ll present anything to the vet that needs attention. We’ve metri-checked everything to check they’re clean. 

We will be bringing the heifers inside and onto the straw yard in the Future Farm for the first time in the next few weeks. This will allow for easier management and enable us to feed them precisely through the feeding robot and get them used to the diet before they calve-in. We’ll also put heat detection collars on them to help breeding. We have 40 extra bulling heifers this year so we will sell them and breed 40. We should also wean all the heifer calves from this season shortly. 

You can read more about the Future Farm here