Farmer Focus Livestock: Cattle performance looks good for Steve Brown

The cows had the option to venture outside until 1 November, but torrential rain meant they opted to stay indoors and I decided to shut the gate and keep them there all winter. Or so I thought.

Thanks to the antics of Guy Fawkes and the celebrations for which he is responsible, my neighbour had a small bonfire party. A few quiet fireworks were enough to draw most of the cows to a suitable vantage point, but when the loud bangs erupted all hell broke loose. Fortunately I was in the vicinity of the shed and only two animals broke free.

Bearing in mind readers of this section of the website could glean information as diverse as winter rations in Cheshire, maize yields in Kent, and even piglet prices in Hungary I thought I’d better put in some statistics of my own. The vet showed me some Key Performance Indicators last month, but I’ve mislaid that piece of information when tidying up for the dairy inspection (you can blame them for anything if you try hard enough).

However, the milk recording annual summary arrived to save the day so I can announce the herd currently averages 9187kg of milk (7362kg in 2005, the year before robotic milking started). This figure is for qualifying lactations which leaves out the ones that drop dead or retire hurt, but I’ll keep that figure to myself as it is obviously a little lower. However I’m assuming this gives an honest benchmark comparison for anyone interested and shows we are hopefully going in the right direction.

But, when I compare my figures with, for example, the likes of those who win the Dairy Farmer of the Year awards, I feel it is like buying the wife a belated bunch of flowers having forgotten her birthday; you may be heading in the right direction, but you are still a long way from your destination.

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