Farmer technical comment - Alistair Cliff

Published 10 April 15

Alistair Cliff, Cheshire 1 on the graphs, milks two units, comprising a spring calving herd with 180 cows and an autumn calving herd of 240 on 234.7 hectares near Chester. Cows in both units are Holstein Friesian crosses. The farm also has about 10 hectares of wholecrop, sown as a cover crop for reseeding.

“Grass growth has had a really slow start this year,” says Alistair. “Residuals have been good but growth just hasn’t been there. It has, however, just started to get going. We measured 27kg DM/ha on Sunday but we’ve had some great warm weather since then so I expect it’s higher by now.

“The slow growth means we have got a flat wedge ahead of us, so we may well be feeding silage for some time to come. Though if things really take off, we need to make sure we don’t get caught out by too much grass-growth at the same time.

“We’ve recently taken on another 32.3 hectares, which we’re planning to reseed as soon as we can. Again, cold and wet conditions have held us up but the plan is to reseed and then have youngstock on it by July.”