Farmer Focus: Milk price remains stable for May

I have just been looking at my expenditure.

Out of line or not, fertiliser has to be one of the most expensive commodities and has constantly increased in price over the past few years.

The only thing I can do about this is keep our use to a minimum.

However, in order to reduce fertiliser costs more investment will be needed in terms of slurry spreading.

See also: So you want to make ice cream from milk

With spring finally here we have only just let the cows out.

This is only during the day as the grass has not started growing quickly enough for them to be out full time and along with that the rain hasn’t subsided enough to prevent problems in gateways.

Things have come to life, however, and a bit of sunshine and some dry weather and everything starts to happen.

The calving shed has gone mad and the lambing shed is empty with our 30 sheep having lambed.

Looking back at some of my previous records, I notice we consistently get a price move in the wrong direction for April.

Well, for once, we have received notification the price will be held for at least May. This is very welcome news and our hearts go out to those who are not so lucky.

Over the past month we have been spreading fertiliser and slurry.

We applied the first application at the beginning of March at 125kg/acre, which will give us about 80 units of nitrate on cutting ground, with also 1,500gal of slurry to the acre.

This gives us another 10-12 units of nitrogen, weather permitting.

We attended the Wensleydale Festival of Food and Drink over the May bank holiday with our ice cream. After a slow start for the first couple of days (very cold and heavy rain) the Monday saw a great turnout. Thanks to all of you who visited the stand.

I find myself spinning too many plates currently and as a result, have decided to get our accountant on board with business planning for the new ice cream parlour.

I have the saying “failing to plan = planning to fail” ringing in my head. Sometimes we just have to admit defeat and ask for help.

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.

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