Farmer Focus Livestock: Tom Rawson sets up dairy in Lincolnshire

After 12 months of planning we have at last started building work on a second dairy unit in north Lincolnshire.

Some people thought we had made the farming headlines the other week. However, we are targeting what now seems a rather boring 500 cows. Either way, this most traditional of arable counties could soon give Cheshire a run for its money as the UK’s dairy heartland.

We have ordered a 28:56 parlour from New Zealand and a 25,000-litre bulk tank to take advantage of the bonus on every-other-day collection, and sand cubicles will replace traditional straw yards while concrete railway sleepers will form the basis of our field infrastructure.

The target yield will be 6500 litres a cow based on all autumn calvers eating first cut, wholecrop and maize in equal proportions in the winter and grazed grass form March onwards. A major strength of the site is the large clay-lined slurry store putting a different slant onto the budget of this project than if a concrete one had to constructed.

Back in Dewsbury work on the slurry store is all finished and working well.

When I was in New Zealand a year ago we looked at several dirty water systems, with the preferred one being the K-line. Basically there are nine pods 10m apart, each housing a sprinkler with a 10m radius, attached to large-bore water pipes. The whole thing is easily moved with the quad, or in our case the “mule”, and reconnected to the underground main.

Yes, father has upgraded our quad for a Kawasaki Mule. He did ring me to ask what the budget for a new quad was but it didn’t seem to have any bearing in his final choice.

• For more columns from other Livestock Farmer Focus writers

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