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