Steve Brown farms 200ha
(500 acres) in Co Durham,
in partnership with his
parents. The familys 125-
cow herd is run at Hopper
House, with a 200-ewe
flock and replacements on
grass at a separate unit
and the remaining land as
AS USUAL, the New Year resolutions melted away before the snow. I vowed to meet all paperwork deadlines for calf passports and registrations, but Im already behind schedule.
Ive also promised to buy a fax machine, which Im sure most producers already have. Licence applications have so far been sent via the local farm shop, but I feel obliged to buy a sandwich each time. A fax machine of my own may soon prove cheaper.
Other planned investments include the annual promise of a replacement bulk tank, particularly as one of the old Desco bulk tanks wants to die with dignity.
However, Im not in favour of bulk tank euthanasia and a water leak from the ice jacket was repaired with quick drying cement and some glue from a box of heat detectors, which were close to hand. So far this has had limited success.
Milk yields are a couple of litres lower than the same time last year because no straights are being fed on top of silage. Labour and time constraints prevent this manual task.
To solve this, I made a firm inquiry into some out-of-parlour feeders having seen some operating successfully. They will compliment our low labour system.
Unfortunately, the dairy supply companies are busy with large-scale parlour installations and improvements before re-stocking. Consequently, our winter feeders should come to fruition around turnout time.
I also planned to use the existing parlour feed bin to save money on extra bulk storage. Sadly, that bin has developed a crack and will have to be replaced, as it cannot be repaired with quick drying cement and heat detector glue.
Also this month, the loader tractor and shear grab were serviced and silage is now being cut out of the clamp better than before. A deteriorating clamp face would only exacerbate the low yield situation.
That just leaves the muck-spreader to repair. While lower feed intakes mean lower yields, the quantity of muck seems as colossal as ever. *