3. Sell the silage to other farmers. Might be diffi cult and
expensive to move large quantities of pit silage to other
4. Make late silage in bales (more mobile) and sell on.
A "win-win" situation can be accommodated for both parties
by discussing and getting written agreement on:
1. Transport to and from venue and who pays.
2. Department of Agriculture compliant issues.
3. Who pays the cost of dealing with sick or death of an animal?
Dosing and vaccinations should be the animals' owner's
responsibility and best done before transport. The animals'
owner will have to provide pre-calving minerals.
4. Meal feeding: who pays? It has to be the owner of the
5. The quality of the silage must be independently assessed
(owner's responsibility). Bad and poorly preserved silage
has lower value. A silage mineral analysis should also be
done so that no unforeseen defi ciencies arise.
6. The facilities, in most cases slats, must be assessed by the
cow owner to make sure they don't damage cows' teats.
Other damaging features
must be identifi ed and if not
rectifi ed... deal off ! If on slats,
there may be justifi cation to
have them teat sealed.
7. The cow stocking rate on slats
must be greater than 30sq.ft.
8. The length of the period. Looks
likely to be 60 days but may be
best to send off March calvers if
silage is tight.
9. Dealing with slurry disposal as
per the rules and cost-benefi t.
10. The cost per day to pay for
silage, housing and labour.
11. It is likely that the cost per cow
will be between 2.50-3.50 per
day. The shed owner might need
to discount some bit as he will
not have to borrow 700-900
to purchase animals, an interest
saving of 15-20c/day. He will also
have cashfl ow into his account
during the winter instead of
having to wait until Mar/April for
Obviously, both parties will size
each other up:
"Will s/he pay?"
"Is s/he a good enough herdsman to
look after my stock?"
"Is there any fi nancial risk that I
won't get my animals back?"
12. "Will s/he be `diffi cult' (rings me 10
times per day on trivial stuff ).
Regular payment can and should be
organised by way of standing order.
Now is the time to be proactive in
making that opportunity a reality.
Other bits and pieces
See last month's advice on assessing
winter feed defi cit. Don't panic into selling stock cheaply
before you have listed all your options.
Sell off cull cows now to make more grass available for milkers.
Some farmers are going to put on ad-lib meal now but I'm not
sure there will be much profi t in that.
As a result of the weather-driven crises this year you must ask
yourself; `Is my system robust enough to deal with the same
problems next year and the year after?" Being over stocked is
asking for trouble!
It will be diffi cult to graze out high N, low dry matter grass this
month but it will be twice as hard to do so in wet conditions.
1. Therefore, `on-off ' grazing will have to be practiced.
2. Feeding silage before cows go to grass will only make it diffi cult
to graze out paddock.
3. Leaving post-grazing grass after you is wasting feed which no
one can aff ord this year.
Remember: "If you think of everything you have to do, you will
feel overwhelmed. If you do the one thing you need to, you will
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