Louis Baugh - Farmers Weekly

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Louis Baugh

27 November 1998

FARMERFOCUS

Kevin Daniel

Kevin Daniel has a mixed

lowland holding near

Launceston, Cornwall. The

65ha (160 acres) farm and

20ha (50 acres) of rented

ground supports 70

Simmental cross suckler

cows, 380 Border Leicester

cross Suffolk ewes and has

28ha (70 acres) of arable

WEBBED feet are still the order of the day at Trebursye, with Novembers rainfall continuing in the same way as October – non-stop.

Living on top of a hill we do not experience any flooding, but fields are still saturated and have water standing in some places. Seed corn remains in the shed and it looks inevitable that many lambs will need to be housed and fed intensively.

The few lambs marketed recently have been sold to our local abattoir, which now trades as Premier Lamb after joining forces with St Merryn Meat.

Unfortunately, along with the new name came a new dressing specification, moving away from MLC standard to a new company spec, removing kidney and channel fat, which can mean up to 0.5kg of carcass weight loss.

It becomes increasingly confusing to the producer to compare abattoir pricing when there is no standard dressing specification throughout the industry. We cannot assume that the best price a kg will give the maximum return.

The wet, stormy weather, although not perfect for finishing lambs outside, has proved ideal for housed cattle with plenty of air movement inside the sheds. We have had only one case of pneumonia, which was promptly treated with a long-acting antibiotic. All calves are fully weaned and settled on to full winter rations.

Cows have dried off quickly this winter without any mastitis. This confirms my suspicions that cows have not milked so well this year and explains why calves are on average 16kg lighter at weaning. I feel that a shortage of silage and delayed turnout last spring has resulted in lower milk yield. Suckler cows are no different from dairy cows in that they need adequate nutrition in early lactation to achieve full potential.

The table shows our silage analysis results for this years crop. First cut was harvested from mainly Italian ryegrass leys in perfect weather, but really needed cutting a week earlier, which would have improved the energy levels. A few weeks later we cut 43 acres of rented grass keep and although the aim was always to cut at a mature stage, two weeks of wet weather delayed harvesting and turned an anticipated 10 ME crop into a 9ME crop. Six weeks after first cut, a second cut was taken between the showers from the same area. This has produced a good silage, but its low dry matter is far from ideal for the ewes. &#42

Silage analysis

Date of cutting

May 18 June 15 June 30

Dry matter% 26.2 26.4 18.6

ME 10.6 9.1 10.9

CP% 18.1 13.4 15.6

D-value 66 57 68

John Glover

John Glover currently milks

65 cows plus followers on a

40ha (100-acre) county

council holding near

Lutterworth, Leicestershire,

having recently moved from

another 20ha (51-acre)

county council farm

MUD, mud glorious mud, is what we have in the field outside our kitchen window.

This is where the dry cows come to feed at a ring feeder. The feeder is on hard standing, but the ground around it is wet and muddy and as the cows like to lie down around the ring, they look in a sorry state. So much so, Granny was overheard to say: "Are the cows all right or are you going to wash them down with a hosepipe to clean them up?"

The new building we have been waiting so long for will be finished today, so at last we can think about bringing some more stock indoors; the only stock in at the moment are the milking cows and some young calves.

We are also getting near the main calving time of December and January. The December calvers are all dry and we are able to bring a small group in to feed pre-calving, but the rest must stay out. January calvers are due for drying off, but because we dont want to turn them out, a few will only be dry for six weeks. A weeks work should see stock in the new building giving us space to dry some cows off.

We have also taken out the last cubicles and are waiting for some made-to-measure feed barriers to convert the building for youngstock housing. We hoped to have the new building and other building conversions finished well in time for Christmas. Although we have already had our first Christmas card, the idea is that youngstock could still go in and out of the building and clean up the grass until then.

Even though we are only about a mile-and-a-half from the old farm as the crow flies, the ground here is not as light. Away from the buildings and excavations for drains and foundations, there is a pocket of clay making gateways wet. So perhaps we cannot do things the way we used to. &#42

Louis Baugh

Louis Baugh

Louis Baugh and his wife

farm 186ha (460 acres) at

Neatishead Hall and 91ha

(225 acres) at Beech Farm

near Norwich in Norfolk.

About 100 autumn calving

Holstein Friesian cows and

followers are grazed on

Broads ESA marshes with

forage from Italian ryegrass

and maize

LIKE elsewhere, the past month has been wet and has scotched any ideas of extended grazing.

We have some December calving heifers mopping up permanent pastures, as we do not like leaving too much growth behind in the autumn. Frost and high water levels give excessive winter kill and slow spring grass growth.

Heifers appeared content, but I winced at the level of poaching. However, we have persisted, deciding the poaching to be the lesser evil. Our harrow and roll will be busy in spring.

Calving was going well until two successive heifers produced well formed dead calves, alarm bells rang about the possible causes. Thankfully, the next three calvings were trouble free. But it will be discussed at the quarterly management meeting with our vet.

The speed of change within the industry is breathtaking. The new minister is someone who will meet, listen and act for farmers; previously untouchable supermarkets are being forced on to the back foot and are having to justify their practices, with the OFT taking an interest. If money disappearing from your accounts did not point to crisis then the television said it, as both Sunday lunchtime political programmes debated it recently.

Now I know where the money has gone. The Press recently reported increased profit and market share for Dairy Crest created by higher expenditure on advertising and retaining extra margin from lower priced raw product. That is being repeated in other dairy companies, who have the upper hand on milk pricing.

To shift the balance will require radical restructuring in how we market milk. Regional co-ops were given the thumbs down pre-vesting day, but the NFU/RABDF initiative to pull producers together to create a critical mass for leverage in negotiations must be considered.

I was disappointed at the response at a recent producers meeting, seeing a lack of interest in restructuring or indeed the need for change. Surely we must look beyond the short term.

Back to the weather. The wet has given way to a cold snap and a Mistle thrush has taken up its usual possessive residence in the berried holly tree by the back door, somewhat earlier than usual. Is this a blip or a sign of a hard winter to come? &#42

John Martin

John Martin farms in

partnership with his parents

on the Ards Peninsula 15

miles south of Belfast. The

65ha (160-acre) Gordonall

farm and 16ha (40 acres) of

rented land carry 400 Suffolk

x Cheviot ewes, a small flock

of Suffolks and 40 spring

calving sucklers. About 20ha

(50 acres) of barley is grown

for feed and for sale

WATER, water everywhere, Nor any drop to drink – that quotation has been ringing in my ears in recent days.

It seemed rather ironic that in the middle of all the rain, our water system sprung a leak. The first we knew was when we received a half-yearly water bill for about four times the normal amount. Much digging followed to uncover pipes and fit stop valves. After numerous attempts we narrowed the problem down to a 12ft stretch of pipe, under the main lane to the farm.

The only option was to open the road and replace the pipe, only this time we put it through some ducting so it can be replaced more easily in future. Forgetting about the expense of pipe, water fittings, digger hire and about three days of our time, some good did come from the episode. We now have stop valves on every water line across the farm, so it will be easier to isolate any future problems.

While much of the country was awash, we escaped relatively unscathed, although much of our land was submerged briefly. Being so close to the sea, tidal times greatly affect the rate of drainage, but most standing water had disappeared within 48 hours.

We were fortunate to get our winter barley sown, while the poor conditions caught many others out. Slugs could only be hit by spreading bait with an ATV, as ground conditions prevented the use of anything heavier.

Wet weather has not encouraged grass growth this autumn, so we find ourselves a bit tight for sheep grazing. The 170 early lambers were housed on Nov 7 after the building had been washed out and disinfected. Ewes were crutched a couple of days later in preparation for lambing, but concentrates were not introduced to the 50 mid-December lambers until Oct 20, as they are all in good shape. March lambers are mostly marked now and we will keep them on the best grass for the next month.

Cattle have settled well since weaning and are starting to thrive. Some of the cows lost a bit of flesh, so they are getting a little extra silage to build them up.

Silage quality is good, however, I notice an odd dark spot. I am concerned that rain during second cut may have resulted in some soil contamination, so we will have to pick the silage fed to ewes more carefully than usual.

Whole-farm soil sampling, carried out in the name of integrated crop management, produced no big surprises. Phosphate and potash levels only need to be maintained in most fields, but pH was a little low in some places, particularly on rented land. &#42

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Louis Baugh

20 March 1998

Louis Baugh

Louis Baugh and his wife

farm 186ha (460 acres) at

Neatishead Hall and 91ha

(225 acres) at Beech Farm

near Norwich in Norfolk.

About 100 autumn calving

Holstein Friesian cows and

followers are grazed on

Broads ESA marshes with

forage from Italian ryegrass

and maize

LIKE many of you, we marched for the countryside along with friends and our visiting Nuffield Scholar, Kevin Old, a dairy farmer from New Zealand.

We discussed how, within a generation, we were no longer to be trusted with the stewardship of the countryside. Image, communication and ignorance sprang to mind which were proven by a recent event. The mole catcher making his spring visit duly trapped his quota of moles on our pastures and did as he, his father and grandfather did before him, displaying his success on the fence.

Unfortunately, one such display was within sight of the road and a plastic bag was found hung on the fence containing a note admonishing us for this barbarous act. Tried and found guilty without presenting ones case for control, not extermination, and the animal health problems of soil contaminated silage. The answer, I suppose is to avoid the poor image initially, as post-event justification is invariably futile.

Questioning our modus operandi as for many is part of policy management. To this end we asked Bruce Woodacre (BOCMPauls), a friend and past colleague of Frans, to visit and give his opinion on herd performance and health. Cow and youngstock condition (barring three calves) was good, but the milkers were performing below potential.

Likewise, our NZ guest asked ourselves and our neighbours some searching questions over the kitchen table which were sometimes difficult to answer.

One major change around the corner is the catch crop Italian ryegrass for silage. Maize acres are to be cut back due to stocks held over from last year, and the vegetables which follow half the IRG are now marginally profitable and carry high growing costs and risk factors.

The option for next year is to switch to two-year rotational leys – a smaller acreage than the one cut catch crop IRG but with multiple cuts. This would also give the flexibility of quality grazing for late summer fresh calvers, but we would need to fence and plumb the arable fields and reconsider where and when we spread the FYM, currently put on the IRG aftermath. The Environment Agency app-roves of our policy of no winter application but this would become difficult to maintain. &#42

Louis Baugh plans to switch from catch crop Italian ryegrass to a two year rotational ley, but will need to fence and plumb arable land first.

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Louis Baugh

20 February 1998

Louis Baugh

Louis Baugh and his wife

farm 186ha (460 acres) at

Neatishead Hall and 91ha

(225 acres) at Beech Farm

near Norwich in Norfolk.

About 100 autumn calving

Holstein Friesian cows and

followers are grazed on

Broads ESA marshes with

forage from Italian ryegrass

and maize.

THIS last month got off to a poor start, I received five stitches and concussion from a flying elbow whilst rugby refereeing in Lancashire and then ran over the dog. Thankfully, both Guiness and I have made a recovery, although the effects of my head injury have been fully questioned by the farmstaff.

We have just completed calving and were looking forward to freeing up more time with fewer calves to feed, to find our outlet for Simmental cross calves requesting that we hold on to them until our new ear tags arrive. We have been waiting for two months now.

The youngstock look well at the moment. A recent weighing session and final selection of animals to bull revealed compensatory growth had occurred following their bout of pneumonia. However, it has delayed service by about a month.

We have also maintained our new policy of a straw-free area in every youngstock yard and pens to help avoid overgrown soft hooves.

Our cows are milking well, although not well enough to compensate for a shortfall in cow numbers due to a higher than expected number of casualties. In response to this we decided to lease out a small amount of quota before the deadline. Fortunately, the management of quota has been made a little easier this winter because the butterfat has rarely gone above our 3.94% base.

We are just bringing our data up to date on our Orchid dairy management program, hoping to identify further areas of savings, or improvements we can make within the total dairy enterprise.

The weather has warmed up and with one eye on the T-Sum chart we plan to top dress with compound fertiliser and roll our Italian ryegrasses. We roll as late as possible due to the risk of moles moving in from the marshes, giving our mole catcher enough time to keep the leys mole free.

As Mar 1 and the Countryside March draws near I have been pleasantly surprised by the wide spectrum of country folk who have indicated a wish to participate. All galvanised by the threat to a way of life and a means of earning a living. Lets hope the sun shines and the leaders of our democracy heed the peaceful message of the mass representation from the countryside. &#42

With calving completed, Louis Baugh is gearing up for spreading fertiliser and rolling the Italian.

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Louis Baugh

23 January 1998

Louis Baugh

Louis Baugh and his wife

farm 186ha (460 acres) at

Neatishead Hall and 91ha

(225 acres) at Beech Farm

near Norwich in Norfolk.

About 100 autumn calving

Holstein Friesian cows and

followers are grazed on

Broads ESA marshes with

forage from Italian ryegrass

and maize.

CHRISTMAS came and passed in its usual blur of activity. Our Holstein Friesian Club Winter Fair proved a success – standards were high although entries down a little. We took a milking heifer and a second calver who took second and fifth prizes respectively. Both share the same sire – Startmore Supreme – and grandsire – Vorwaerts – which I am sure helped them secure Best Pair in Show.

My other pre-Christmas activity was an invitation to attend the local playgroup party (they had visited the farm in the autumn). The catch, however, was to go dressed as Santa. Thankfully all went well and I have been booked for next year.

The past month has been wet. We need the rain but I did not need dirty water system problems over the holiday period. Of three pumps in various pits, one burned out and one blocked. The blockage was soon blown out but it will take a month for the new pump to appear. Old nightmares of slurry tankers on sodden fields return.

Our first batch of heifers are now in-calf and our second batch of bulling heifers have Crestars in, awaiting service or Embryo Transfer as we plan to flush two more animals.

The effect of our early winter pneumonia is showing now. The next age group down have suffered reduced growth rates; we aimed at 0.7kg DLWG and a recent weighing gave an average of 0.45kg DLWG.

We would like to serve some of this group in late winter, so we have changed their diet to try and compensate and, hopefully, avoid them getting fat.

Thanks and well done to our local NFU group secretaries and farmers who collected 1000 signatures for the "Keep Britain Farming" petition outside a local supermarket. Only a few shoppers objected, the vast majority being supportive of the UK farmer – long may it continue. &#42

The effects of an early winter bout of pneumonia have resulted in lower daily liveweight gains, says Louis Baugh. Dirty water system breakdowns also posed a challenge over the recent holiday period.

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Louis Baugh

26 December 1997

Louis Baugh

Louis Baugh and his wife

farm 186ha (460 acres) at

Neatishead Hall and 91ha

(225 acres) at Beech Farm

near Norwich in Norfolk.

About 100 autumn calving

Holstein Friesian cows and

followers are grazed on

Broads ESA marshes with

forage from Italian ryegrass

and maize.

Louis Baugh and his wife

farm 186ha (460 acres) at

Neatishead Hall and 91ha

(225 acres) at Beech Farm

near Norwich in Norfolk.

About 100 autumn calving

Holstein Friesian cows and

followers are grazed on

Broads ESA marshes with

forage from Italian ryegrass

and maize.

WE have administered the second dose of Rispoval RS and hopefully have seen the back of our early winter pneumonia problems.

Another area of concern was our cubicles, I wrote late last winter of hock problems. We have had little trouble so far this winter, the cubicles are scraped out, chopped straw littered twice daily and treated three times a week with hydrated lime. We find this maintains adequate straw on the mats to give a high degree of comfort with clean legs and udders, minimising the need for washing in the parlour.

The winter routine is being broken by preparing three animals for the Norfolk Holstein Friesian Clubs Winter Fair, a one-day show where we pray for a mild day. It gives the autumn calving animals a chance to be judged at their peak.

In this season of goodwill I hope the editor permits me to make a few observations off farm. The programme of winter meetings is underway, and the expression of frustration and becoming marginalised is a recurring theme. Frustration at the high moral ground seized by food retailers which is driving the plethora of welfare and assurance schemes on the premise "this is what the consumer wants," whilst marketing foreign produce to which none of the former applies. True we must not attack any part of the food sector, but lets recognise and promote our high hygiene, safety and welfare standards.

At two recent meetings 95% of farmers expressed a wish, by a show of hands, to enter a European Monetary System sooner rather than later. It would be refreshing to see politicians recognise the importance of agriculture and its current problems by backing it with something more substantial than rhetoric.

So my Christmas wish would be for an agrimoney revaluation compensation application and a successful "Buy Best British Pro-motion".

Then I awoke from this fanciful dream remembering I still had to complete my adjusted budgets for the overdue meeting with the bank manager! A happy New Year to you.n

Scraping cubicles out and littering them all with chopped straw twice a day and treating with hydrated lime three times a week is helping Louis Baugh counter hock concerns, giving a high degree of cow comfort and maintaining clean legs and udders, minimising need for parlour washing.

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Louis Baugh

31 October 1997

Louis Baugh

Louis Baugh and his wife

farm 186ha (460 acres) at

Neatishead Hall and 91ha

(225 acres) at Beech Farm

near Norwich in Norfolk.

About 100 autumn calving

Holstein Friesian cows and

followers are grazed on

Broads ESA marshes with

forage from Italian ryegrass

and maize.

THE recent dry spell finally ended with 5cm (2in) of rainfall. This caused a rush to complete projects timetabled for winter housing.

Our cubicle house had new cubicle divisions last year. Phase two was to modify the feed fence, the head rail being too low rubbed cows necks. This has been replaced with a steel cable inside a plastic pipe set 25cm (10in) higher, at 129.5cm (51in), while the feed trough boards have also been raised to 61cm (24in).

When we replaced our cubicles we sacrificed 12 beds to allow for extra access to points onto the feed passage, eliminating the dead ends our central access points gave us. These new gateways have now been fitted with water tanks.

The roof of the cubicle shed is quite low and when fully stocked the air can be very stagnant. To improve the ventilation we have had the roof sheet joints cut, resulting in immediate improvements in the air quality.

Maize silage was made on Oct 11 and our winter feeding strategy has been determined. We delayed our feed purchase decisions much later than normal because feed prices continued to fall with stock feed carrots being offered to us free. The exception was soya which we covered for the early winter. Its price has firmed due to old crop shortages and the expected bumper new crop meeting with record demand.

On a lighter note, we have just had the herd HFS classification carried out by David Hewitt, and were most pleased to have two heifers go VG. Just as he was finishing he walked past one of our water tanks and was most surprised to see our colourful cleaning devices swimming around – goldfish!

However, a moment later he was amazed to see my dog Guinness sitting by the tank with one in her mouth. She was looking at him expectantly trying to catch his attention. She is black-and-white and thought she ought to be classified too! But she didnt catch the fish, it had leapt out and she decided to pick it up as she went past. &#42

Two of Louis Baughs heifers have just been classified by HFS as VG.

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Louis Baugh

3 October 1997

Louis Baugh

Louis Baugh and his wife farm

186ha (460 acres) at

Neatishead Hall and 91ha

(225 acres) at Beech Farm

near Norwich in Norfolk. About

100 autumn calving Holstein

Friesian cows and followers

are grazed on Broads ESA

marshes with forage from

Italian ryegrass and maize.

I THOUGHT that our problems were arable ones, with forward contracted cereals and potatoes proving difficult to move and surplus French beans to be ploughed in.

This was a stupid assumption on my behalf, no sooner said before we hit a spell of milk fevers in our older cows. This was traced back to the flush of grass following the June rains which meant our management of the dry group was not as tight as usual.

One such case was Jane. Having had her sixth calf, it took her 36 hours to get to her feet, but having done so she settled into the herd and started to milk. One week after calving she was found cast against the straw yard wall with her head trapped, and died 24 hours later. Jane was fourth generation classified Excellent, having won two reserve championships, leaving daughters by Inspiration, Astre and Majic.

Her oldest daughter was due to calve in eight weeks, however she was brought off the marsh when seen bulling and the vet summoned to find a dead calf inside her.

To cap it all I committed the ultimate sin whilst milking on Sunday morning, I dumped the cold rinse water into one of the bulk tanks! The tut-tutting in our yard was loud and lengthy.

On a brighter note we had a cow produce her second calf. As a heifer she damaged her spine post-calving. Unable to walk correctly or raise her tail to dung and in acute pain, our vet suggested he could do no more.

Fran, a keen horsewoman and open-minded about alternate treatment summoned an animal healer. After two treatments using crystals, acupuncture and manipulation the heifer vastly improved and despite her loss of condition went on to record a lactation of 8200 litres and classified GP83. One year on her second calf, a heifer by Maughlin Storm arrived with no problems – all that remains is the inability to raise her tail!

I am thankful to our team for the effort they make at this busy time which allows me to pursue my pastime of rugby refereeing – long distances travelled mean I am absent all day most Saturdays. Friends see this as a masochistic exercise, I point out it is not so dissimilar from my weekday activities! &#42

Its been a trying time for Louis Baugh on the dairy front, but there is one bright spot: A cow – who damaged her spine as a heifer and recuperated after alternative therapy – has given birth to her second calf.

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Louis Baugh

5 September 1997

Louis Baugh

Louis Baugh and his wife farm 186ha (460 acres) at Neatishead Hall and 91ha (225 acres) at Beech Farm near Norwich in Norfolk. About 100 autumn calving Holstein Friesian cows and followers are grazed on Broads ESA marshes with forage from Italian ryegrass and maize.

AUGUST has been a hot dry month, which led our herdsman Phil Howard to suggest adjusting our buffer feeding of bale silage. The stale cows continue to have access to bale silage and maize silage after milking, but the fresh calvers have been loose housed at night and fed ryegrass and maize silage, brewers grains, pulp nuts and stock feed potatoes to produce M+25 litres, with preferential day grazing.

If the milk price continues to fall I can see the above practice, amongst others, being questioned.

At the risk of being called a cynic I question the practice of our milk buyers MD Foods, which have to serve three months notice of any intended price change. During this calendar year to November, over 17% will be wiped off our output value; on every occasion the difficult trading conditions and an anticipated green currency revaluation have been cited. I ask would the reverse conditions result in the same degree of anticipation and upward price adjustment? Somehow I think not.

We have recently decided to partake in black magic and witchcraft: Yes, we are trying embryo transfer for the first time. With open eyes, minds (wallet) and a realistic approach from the ET vet Bob Britton the donors are being synchronised and the heifer recipients selected at 385kg liveweight. This project is being considered as a possible route to overcoming the frustration with our herds rate of genetic progress.

With regards to progress, I was a little surprised by the rebirth of the possible amalgamation of the Holstein Friesian and British Holstein Societies. It transpires that a lobby group within HFS wishes this to occur along with a radical restructuring underpinned by EU cash.

I can see the benefits of such a course of action but I am also mindful of how past discussion over a lengthy period proved fruitless. The motivation on both sides should be in the long-term interests of their members, not a rushed process based on the promise of the pot of EU gold which may or may not be available. To those who lead the parties involved I remind them that coercion rarely results in consensus. &#42

Louis Baugh is trying embryo transfer to speed up his herds genetic progress. Donors are currently being synchronised and heifer recipients selected at 385kg liveweight.

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Louis Baugh

8 August 1997

Louis Baugh

Louis Baugh and his wife farm 186ha (460 acres) at Neatishead Hall and 91ha (225 acres) at Beech Farm near Norwich in Norfolk. About 100 autumn calving Holstein Friesian cows and followers are grazed on Broads ESA marshes with forage from Italian ryegrass and maize.

WHAT a difference a year makes. Last year was parched and dry, with feed prices climbing, and calving started with a run of heifers. This year we have received a quarter of our annual rainfall in three weeks, causing widespread poaching, and we have had 25 calvings to date and too many bull calves.

The trend was broken by a heifer out of our best second calver, only to be followed by a breech bull calf!

Also, our rolling MOPF has fallen £40 a cow over the summer due to the drop in milk price; we aim to claw back the deficit from cheaper feeds during the winter. A ryegrass silage analysis of 34% DM, 11.7 ME and 12.6 crude protein combined with a potentially good maize crop should mean less bought in feed.

A few days were spent at the Royal Show. We had been considering joining the Cogent programme having visited the unit last autumn. The few remaining concerns we had were overcome after a discussion on the stand with John Downing (the Wintersell herd).

We duly became members and look forward to the future with great interest. It was pleasing to see two Norfolk breeders carrying forward success from the Royal Norfolk to the Royal Show, Jonathan Deane showing his wife Judys (Joelee) heifer to become heifer champion and Michael Wright (Pinebreck) succeeding with his cow Hocus Pocus. She was a survivor of a lightening strike which killed over 20 cows, a lesson in something positive transpiring from adversity.

The young members calf show took place with over 60 entries, our club continued with the policy of appointing younger judges. Andy Cope (Huddlesford) and Tom Barrett (Rettbar) judged handlers and calves respectively; it was a pleasure to assist as a steward. A new class was veteran handler with optional fancy dress; our own four entries depicted handlers dress from 1950 to 2001.

My wife Fran took best handler dressed in white coat of the 1970s, with best fancy dress to Paul Corfield as young handler in 2001 complete with nappy. Thanks for the advice on the contents of these articles – Alan (Welham). A herdsman of some repute in these parts, he suggested I "spice them up". I reminded him I wrote for farmers weekly not Coronation Street.n

Lewis Baugh… rolling MOPF has fallen by £40 a cow over the summer due to the drop in milk price; he aims to claw back the deficit by offering cheaper feeds.

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Louis Baugh

17 April 1997

Louis Baugh

Louis Baugh and his wife

farm 186ha (460 acres) at

Neatishead Hall and 91ha

(225 acres) at Beech Farm

near Norwich in Norfolk.

About 100 autumn calving

Holstein Friesian cows and

followers are grazed on

Broads ESA marshes with

forage from Italian ryegrass

and maize

Early spring weather suggested an early turnout onto our grazing marsh, but recent wet weather and a cold outlook left us thankful for plentiful forage stocks.

Potato planting is complete and the operation has now moved on to contract work off-farm. While planting is taking place all feeding and littering is carried out earlier than usual, with the milked cows having access to fresh food. This releases labour and the loader for potatoes and ensures neither operation impinges on the other.

The wet conditions have allowed us to get on with leptospirosis vaccination and youngstock weighing. It has become quite noticeable how the genetic mix of Friesian and Holstein blood has affected growth rates.

Youngstock with a higher % of Holstein blood have a liveweight of up to 65kg more than their counterparts of the same age bred from some of our older traditionally bred cows.

We have received two communications from our milk buyer, MD Foods. Firstly, their Milk Assurance Scheme which, hopefully, we can fulfill with a few minor adjustments. I wish I could say the same about the notice to reduce the milk price by 1p/litre from June 1. Like everyone else we are looking for further savings on expenditure which will only make a small impact on the income lost.

Surplus in-calf heifers have been selected for sale, 11 are in the process of moving home but, like everything else, at a reduced price compared with last years levels – by £200 a head.

Last month I touched on the subject of farmings public perception and the difficulty we face in creating a pro-active approach. I was pleased to hear of a Parish Farm Open Day initiative, launched and supported by the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association and our regional newspaper the Eastern Daily Press. The first open days have taken place and proved a success. We have applied for an advisory pack and are looking forward to holding an open day provisionally in July. &#42

Louis Baugh is looking for more savings on farm expenditure following notification of a further drop in milk price of 1p/litre from June.

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