Farmer Focus Livestock: Dale Whalley to return to improting Dutch heifers

Praise should be given to Wisemans for being the first as usual to buck the trend and increase our milk price. I only hope more price rises follow in the autumn.

Currently our daily milk production is lower than usual, due to no replacements being purchased since early May and the number of cows in milk subsequently dropping.

More than £2000 for heifers is now common place, so we’ve taken the decision to return to importing Dutch heifers, with 18 arriving in July costing £1350 each. I realise farmers are against importing due to bluetongue risks, but I’ve been using the same company, Firma Schaap, for seven years, buying hundreds of heifers through them.

The heifers have passed their blood tests, however, if anyone is considering importing stock, I would advise only using a company you trust. In September, I hope to travel over and select another 35 heifers to calve during the autumn and early winter.

On the subject of bargains, I have just taken advantage of Cogent’s sexed semen offer buying 60 straws for the price of 40. These straws will be used as a trial on selected heifers and cows. The extra beef calf sales created using sexed semen, could be higher than the losses due to possible lower conception rates and an overall drop of calving index.

When we do start serving bulling heifers next year, the plan is to use sexed semen on all the heifers. The loss of calf revenue this year, from having so many dairy bulls instead of Blue calves, has been considerable.

For once this is being written before the copy deadline as we are off on holiday to the island of Gozo. Two weeks away is a great opportunity to spend quality time with the family, who are growing up far too quickly. In September, Laura starts her GCSE courses and Emma starts grammar school.