I attended a very interesting meeting at Kinston Maurward College today, which was all about out-wintering cattle. The meeting was run by the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS), based at The University of Aberystwyth.
There were two excellent farmer presentations from Clyde Jones and Chris Barnes, who shared their experiences of out-wintering dairy cows and replacements. Both of these guys are running spring calving herds and keep their dry cows out on kale, stubble turnips and fodder beet through the winter, backed up with silage bales.
Although heavy soils on some farms make it impossible to keep cows out all winter, without serious damage to pastures (poaching), there are definitely opportunities for many of us to extend the grazing season, using fodder crops such as kale and turnips and make significant cost savings.
Some really interesting work has been carried out by the Grassland Development Centre at IBERS, which “aims to deliver science and information to livestock farmers to improve their efficiency of grassland production and to protect and enhance grassland habitats”.
There are some useful factsheets available on the website. Follow the link to find out more.