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April 2012 - Posts - Dairy Diary

Dairy Diary

News from John and Phil Riley in Cheshire

April 2012 - Posts

and it keeps getting wetter.

The rain came like the weatherman predicted.The fields are a wash and it keeps getting wetter.There doesn't seem to be an end in sight to the wet weather !! The cows seem quite content being inside but it is now starting to cost us as we are having to buy silage in as well as bedding.

 When we wrote our 'about' we said that we would share the highs and lows of our dairy farm. Yesterday was definitely a low as we were told that our milk buyer will be dropping our milk price by 2 pence a litre from the beginning of May.This will have a big impact on our business this year. Our consultant came today to run through the budget for this financial year and the price drop has knocked a big whole in our bottom line.It seems very unfair that your milk buyer can give you just 3 days notice of a price change yet you must give them 12 months notice if you want to leave !!!

Calm before the storm....
What a beautiful day. It almost felt like spring today but I'm sure it's the calm before the storm as the weather man says high winds and heavy rain is on its way. Phil has been busy pumping slurry today, giving some of the grazing paddocks a quick dose. Hopefully this will give them a boost when the weather warms up. I have been trying to finish my budget today in between starting and stopping the umbilical pump. Consultant coming on Friday , let's hope the figures stack up !!! feels like the winter routine.

The decision was made on Friday to keep the cows in. With all the cold and wet weather the cows were starting to make a mess. Our farm is very heavy clay so we can grow grass all summer but when it comes wet the cows can tread up the ground very quickly. The cows are being fed on grass silage and brewers grains. It feels like the winter routine: scraping, feeding, bedding. I am sure we should be moving fences not muck at this time of year.

Lets hope the weather picks up soon as we have maize to sow and first cut silage is normally done in early may !!


Quick fix...

With all the wet weather one of our field tracks has taken a lot of stick over the last couple of weeks. We were planning to cover it with concrete sleepers later this summer when money allowed but access to sixty acres of the grazing platform has been restricted by the muddy track so a quick fix was needed. Three hundred sleepers were bought last week and laid yesterday.


New arrivals....
The first of our replacement cows arrived today. We source them from spring calving herds where they have fallen out of their system but drop into our late summer block perfectly calving in July. The new cows will get chance to settle into the herd before calving later this summer. I have also been catching up on paperwork today trying to finish our year end figures. My next focus will be this year's budget aiming to set targets to increase the efficiency and profitability of the business. The cold wet showers are not what we need at the moment as grass is struggling to grow just when we need it. Bring back the warm sunshine !!
Making the most of a quiet spell...

I am sat writing this first blog as I wait for my car to be MOT'd. My brother Phil is away enjoying his Easter holiday in Anglesey with his family. I had my break last week with my wife and two boys.We are making the most of a quiet spell following what felt like a long winter.

After an early turnout and some lovely spring sunshine we are now getting some heavy showers. I'm sure the cows are missing the sun on their backs as much as we are! I have just started to dry the first cows off this week, giving them their MOT - checking tags and replacing Heatime collars to save time later when we are busy calving.