Livestock Farmer Focus: Tom Rawson’s forage stocks are yielding well

I was recently asked at the Yorkshire Show to talk on BBC Breakfast about attracting young people into dairy farming.

All seemed to go well considering it was live, however, I was amazed to hear that a couple of farmers shouted me down for putting a positive note on dairying, and instead I should have used the opportunity to complain about the milk price.

Getting that next generation through is a constant focus for us in our business. We now have a sector that offers good wages, in many cases a nice family home on site and increasingly a more realistic working week, so complaining about milk price is surely going to put people off.

Forage stocks are looking more and more promising on both farms, with the wholecrop and second cut yielding well at Dewsbury and the wholecrop and maize looking like a bumper crop in Lincolnshire. The first cut in Market Rasen came back at 12.2ME and 14.9 protein. Unfortunately, there is only about three wheelbarrow of it. Oh well, it must give us confidence for future years with increased acreages.

The Yorkshire team scanned the cows and heifers to see what had held to first service. Results were pleasing, with 160 due next March. However, the cows only managed 50%, something that should improve as we get our cow type on a whole-herd average right, moving towards the aim of 100% crossbreds.

New placement student Freddie, to my delight, was late up the other morning. So I put cold water in his mug of tea, whispered his name up the stairs, then drove down to the dairy as fast as possible, and ran (well, fast walked) down for the cows. Maximum effect, he turned up just after six o’clock looking very flustered. Oh the joys…

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