Farmer Focus Livestock: Steve Brown considers an extra robot

Recently we staged an open air music festival to celebrate my 40th birthday.

The star of the show was “Groovy Graham” the guest DJ, better known to some of you perhaps as my local Arla Foods milk partnership support manager, performing a task well beyond his usual call of duty.

The question now is whether to make this an annual event, or to call it a day now; it’s a bit like deciding to continue milking cows for a living or leaving the industry. The answer in both cases probably depends on how long you can afford to lose money.

However , there must be something positive in the air around here, as I recently made a loose enquiry about investing in a third robot and actually went through some figures with the farm consultant as to whether this was feasible, or the result of too much ale at the aforementioned festival as he initially suggested.

Our last investment in two robots in April 2006 was made at a time when industry commentators stated that a better milk price was needed for reinvestment in the dairy industry. It seems not much has changed.

However, in terms of feasibility, it wasn’t the extra robot that was the problem; it was the extra 60 cows, the housing for them and the slurry storage that was the problem. If you shouldn’t go supermarket shopping when you are hungry, then don’t discuss robot investment when ill with a throat infection, as this can really finish you off.

In what may have been an act of God, I missed out on seeing Lord Lely the next day, for further discussions, as I ended up in hospital on an intravenous drip due to an abscess on my tonsils. If nothing else I proved to Sharon that yes, my sore throat was indeed worse than one that she could get.

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