Farmer focus: Adrian Harrison gets a welcome milk price rise

It’s now April and the signs of spring are not obvious. Looking around the dale it’s very dull and we are busy straining our eyes looking for any green.

The recent events in the dairy industry have meant there is no room for error and this has led to a refocus on herd health.

See also: Read more from our other livestock farmer focus writers

I recently attended a Princes Trust meeting, which was a presentation on health issues looking at animal housing, cubical design, rubber matting and lameness scoring, and suggesting the best techniques to overcome these problems.

For me, the main aim is cow comfort. I have already been out with my tape measure kneeling in the cubicles to test comfort. I now know where money needs to be spent.

With prices for feed under the spotlight this winter, we have altered our ration to try and cut the cost. We are feeding 31kg silage, 2kg blend, 6kg trafford gold and 0.5kg straw – a total of 39.5kg a cow.

I reported several months ago on the purchase of Danish Red heifers. I am pleased to report that all is currently going well.

The 4 August calving heifers are averaging 22.2kg  at 4.5 fat and 3.6% protein and 4 December calving heifers are averaging 24.5kg at 4.4% fat and 3.5% protein.

They are tough animals and have settled in well with our farm and system. Thanks to Andrew Bellis and Chris Dodds Livestock for supplying some quality heifers.

Our plans are to extend the Danish Red element of our herd later this summer, looking for autumn calvers.

Recently I have had to use two government departments.

The first was for the Basic Farm Payment. I don’t think I need to comment on this further other than saying this is yet another computer fiasco.

Second was the planning department and we have finally succeeded in this area.

We had some help from both the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority and North Yorkshire Highways. Hallelujah!

On 1 March it had been 12 months since our first tanker pick up from Arla. A lot has happened in our industry during that time.

The good news for this month is we have been offered a milk price rise of 0.83ppl. Things are looking up.

 Adrian Harrison

Adrian Harrison farms 81ha in partnership with his father Maurice in Wensleydale, Yorkshire. He runs 130 pedigree Jersey cows with 70 followers. Milk is used to make Wensleydale cheese