Rathconrath Co. Westmeath
Breed of Cow:
On my farm the farmer bred British Friesian Cattle. Friesian cattle are a breed of cattle known today as the world’s highest production dairy animal. Originating in Europe Friesian’s were bred it what is now called the Netherlands. The farmer chose British Friesian over any other breed as he finds they are a more dual-purpose cow. This means the cow produces good milk and also has a good conformation. Breeding:
On my farm the farmer breeds his British Friesian herd with a stock bull. This is a bull kept on the farm for breeding purpose’s to bring the Heifer’s into heat. My farmer’s herd was a spring-calving herd which meant he aims to have his herd calving down in mid-February. Before calving the cow should have a body condition score (BCS) in the range of 3.0 to 3.5 he told me as a low BCS before calving decreases the lactation yield of the cow. Husbandry:
On my farm the cows are put out to grass during the summer months and are fed grass out on the land. My farmer works on a rotational grazing system in which the land is divided into 25 paddocks. The herd grazes down one paddock each day and is then moved to the next paddock. Fertilizer is spread on each grazed paddock after the herd has been moved. There are many advantages from paddock grazing as I have learned from my farmer. For example fresh, highly digestible leafy grass is available every day for grazing. On my farm the farmer also practices the leader follower system. This means the young calves get to graze on the next paddock before the cows. This means they get the fresh grass which is needed for them in order in grow. In the winter the calves are brought into a cubicle shed and fed high quality silage. This happens as the weather is too cold for them during the winter and there would be no grass for them to graze on. This shed is well ventilated and draught free as poor...