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Sue &Andy Guy

30 November 2001

Sue &Andy Guy

Sue and Andy Guy farm 79ha

(196 acres) on an FBT in

Notts. They are expanding

their 76-cow pedigree high

health status Holstein herd

which averages 6900 litres

BLESSED with a spell of dry weather we snatched 22ha (56 acres) of red clover/rye-grass silage in round bales. Almost half would have benefited from being harvested 2-3 weeks earlier had the opportunity arisen.

But at nearly 17.5 bales/ha (7 bales/acre), with no artificial nitrogen, yields were respectable. We wonder why such a productive crop fell from favour but, with consumer pressure to reduce inputs, perhaps its time has come again.

Now new cubicles are complete, cows are in and receiving a full winter ration. Having terminated our dairy consultancy contract at the beginning of the foot-and-mouth outbreak, we decided to use a specialist nutritionist this year.

The F-plan diet and first cut silage of 12ME and 75 D-value have boosted yields by an average of 2 litres/day. We wish we had brought cows in earlier.

Cubicles took much longer to install than expected, but dont all civil engineering projects run over time? After hours of smashing concrete we began assembling the Meccano-style kit.

The montagevoorscriften – instructions – were written in Dutch which proved challenging. We paid k53k/stall (£32.86/stall) and Sue had to work out what to do with the VAT return. It was the first time we had to fill in boxes two and nine on the form.

We are disappointed to hear the dairy companies have decided not to match producers money in the next phase of The White Stuff campaign. Co-operating with dairy producers is not one of their strengths.

It is also disappointing to hear that, as a result of the dairies pulling out, the Milk Development Council will reduce levies by 0.02p/litre and suspend the advertising campaign. This seems to be a hasty decision given the campaigns apparent success.

Instead of reducing the levy and suspending the campaign, we would be prepared to increase our total contribution to 0.08p/litre – still only 0.2% of turnover for marketing. If all dairy producers agreed to the increased levy, we could claim The White Stuff for our own.

Some brands like Coca-Cola expect to spend at least 10% of turnover on marketing. Unless we take our brand seriously, milk will remain a cheap commodity. &#42

Sue and Andy Guy would be prepared to pay 0.08p/litre to retain The White Stuff milk advertising campaign.

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Sue & Andy Guy

2 November 2001

Sue & Andy Guy

New Farmer Focus

contributors Sue and Andy

Guy farm 32ha (198 acres)

on a FBT in Notts. They are

expanding their 76-cow

pedigree high health status

Holstein herd which

averages 6900 litres

MOVING house is supposed to be one of lifes most stressful events, but moving farm in the middle of a foot-and-mouth crisis is worse.

On the last day of June, we loaded the Lottabottle herd and all our clutter on to 11 lorries and flitted 150 miles from a 24ha (60-acre) county council tenancy to 32ha (198 acres) in Notts. Rented from a member of the family on a 15-year farm business tenancy, the farm is IACS registered, but all down to grass or clover.

The move was three months later than planned and was a rushed job because DEFRA issued the licence only 72 hours before we left.

Broadly speaking, Sue does the mucky stuff while Andy handles the oily things. We began farming in 1997 with 54 young cows bought from one source and we have bred replacements from them to create the Lottabottle herd. We run a closed herd with high health status, calving all year round.

Lately we have been working hard to get the new system running smoothly. We are modernising cubicles to accommodate larger Holstein cows. But we still need to alter rails on feed yards, convert part of the dutch barn into livestock accommodation and build a base for calf hutches.

We have made five cuts of silage this year, including one for the incoming tenant in Gloucester. There are some existing red clover leys here in Notts, but they were slow to grow, so we cut grass on May 21, followed by clover two weeks later. The second cut was better organised in late July. We also planted 16ha (40 acres) of red clover/ ryegrass reseeds, but first cut of these was delayed until August.

Our policy of breeding everything black-and-white is under review, but the closed herd status will remain as we work towards 125 cows in two years time. We are increasing yields from 6900 litres and profits need improving too.

Better rationing and comfortable cows should help yields while profits will come from efficient feed conversion, better milk prices and tighter management. Time will tell. &#42

A desire to increase cow numbers and hopefully profits lies behind Sue and Andy Guys decision to move to a larger unit earlier this year.

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