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Sue and Andy Guy

6 September 2002

Sue and Andy Guy

Sue and Andy Guy farm

79ha (196 acres) on an

FBT in Notts. They are

expanding their 90-cow

pedigree high health status

Holstein herd which

averages 6900 litres

WE MADE 22ha (55 acres) of third cut silage from our red clover leys on Aug 10. It was just six weeks after second cut and we had applied no nitrogen, so 15 big square bales/ha (6 bales/acre) pleased us.

Grass has grown well this summer and we now have enough silage for winter. This is causing a biosecurity headache. We can put tack sheep on land destined for silage next spring, but we try to avoid woolly wanderers on land to be grazed by our own stock within six months. If cattle reject too much grass, we may need to rent a topper in autumn.

Everyone tells us the east midlands is a low rainfall area and that grass dries up by July or August. Not this year. Cows still have plenty of good quality grass to graze and are milking well.

Fats fell to 3.5% in July. But our liquid milk contract requires a minimum average of 3.6% to avoid penalties. The nutritionist recommended a mix of sugar beet and wheat distillers instead of cake in the parlour and 2kg/head of a different blend outside. That has done the trick because milk recording showed an average of 3.74% this week.

Recently a hot air balloon landed here. It caused great consternation for cows and our collie dog, who suffers from UFOphobia. Sue rejected a cheap bottle of whisky when she discovered the passengers quaffing champagne. Instead, she demanded landing fees of £50. After some rifling of wallets it was paid without too many squeals. We have provided a map of the farm and the pilot has promised not to visit again.

Beyond the farmgate, Amelcas failure is a set back for producers planning to invest in milk processing. We hoped these pioneers would succeed, encouraging others to follow. They must have had some bad luck and made mistakes, but the philosophy was right.

If we do what we always did, we will get what we always got. We must not allow Amelcas collapse to deter us from investing in milk processing. It is imperative that dairy producers invest further up the food chain to stabilise the market and secure a greater proportion of profits. &#42

Grass has grown well this summer on Sue and Andy Guys unit, despite their location.

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Sue and Andy Guy

17 May 2002

Sue and 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

APRIL brings the end of the milk year and our financial year too.

We have been reviewing our performance against budgets for 2001/02 and analysing what we have achieved. Taking a "look back in anger" you may say.

Our average milk price rose to 18.46p/litre, a significant improvement on the year before. We started the year unable to move from Glos to Notts because of foot-and-mouth, consequently renting 24ha (60 acres) more than we had expected.

In fact, there were nearly £10,500 in costs directly attributable to F&M. These included a fat freemartin heifer, which went over 30 months before the movement restrictions were lifted and having to buy in extra forage. Haulage cost us more than £600 for disinfecting lorries when we were granted a movement licence and we also had to make silage for the incoming tenant.

When we broke costs down into p/litre, F&M cost us more then 2p/litre. That easily absorbed the income we had gained from the improved milk price.

Vet and med, NMR and AI was an interesting category. It cost 1.77p/litre, including heifer rearing and dogs. In fact our two dogs are something of a liability, costing more than all the heifers put together. We will have to take a closer look at that.

Agrimonetary compensation from the EU would be a small step in the right direction, but it seems DEFRA thinks we do not need it. It is hard to understand where livestock fits into the governments view of the rural economy.

After nearly one month without rain, we were beginning to get concerned that the grass was suffering from drought. Grass analysis shows nitrogen is all but used and the advice is cut now. But it is raining, so our contractors are on standby.

Calving has recommenced, after the spring lull in the pattern. One heifer due to calve has an awful looking udder and a nasty case of E coli mastitis. Should we lose the quarter she will have to be added to the culling list. It is always disappointing to lose a young heifer, but the bag will not be pleasing to look at in a year or two anyway. &#42

Last years foot-and-mouth restrictions cost Sue and Andy Guy more than £10,000.

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