Farmer Focus: Bad luck comes in threes

I was walking along the other day when I spotted one magpie. Now being from the Dales I am a little superstitious, so I saluted it. The magpie can’t have noticed the salute as bad luck set in for the day.

The first thing happened to a cow; she was found flat out with milk fever. Those of you who have Jersey cows will know milk fever well. Over the years I have managed to master the art of giving calcium directly into the main vein, saving many a cow on its last breath. This was no exception and she sat up within minutes.

The second piece of bad luck for the day was a phone call from the hospital to say my knee surgery was being postponed. Now I know these folk are hard pressed in hospitals but if they only knew how much organisation is involved in making a few days free, they would appreciate the serious inconvenience this caused and the number of people who had to change their plans as a result.

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The third piece of bad news was a milk price cut: it was a shocker. In fact, it was so shockingly bad it has brought dairying into question. To stick the boot in I then saw the Co-operative advert on TV, telling the world how good milk is for you and then slipping in at the end that is why we are selling it for such a low price.

Lastly I picked up Farmers Weekly, an old copy from 12 September and saw an article headed up “Farm levy board CEO will strive for better value”. Skimming through it I read that the departing chief executive (salary £150,000) was congratulating himself for reducing overheads significantly. “The losses we were incurring have been eradicated and small surpluses are now being made,” he said.

Well fellow dairy farmers, how chuffed would you be to be rewarded for bringing your businesses into line? Personally I think the AHDB are somewhat removed from reality and need to get closer to farmers and offer services that are worth the money we pay.

Adrian Harrison farms 81ha in partnership with his father Maurice in Wensleydale, Yorkshire. He runs 130 pedigree Jersey cows with 70 followers.