Farmer Focus: First heifers calve to sexed semen

As I write this I am dazzled by the bright sunlight and believe it or not, we have no rain. How much better does it feel when the sun’s out and the sky’s blue? All of a sudden life is a little easier and the world seems a nicer place.


Our first batch of heifers calved to sexed semen. We changed our breeding programme – instead of breeding to pure Jersey we now put our heifers to sexed semen, and the majority of everything else to British Blue.


So far out of the first five to calve to pure we have had one bull. The heifers are doing well and since November we have been selling beef calves, which has improved cashflow.


See also: More from our other Livestock Farmer Focus writers


The idea is to have more fee-earning animals on farm, where historically, we have carried a large number of youngstock.


Recently I have had to use two public bodies. The first was the NHS after I damaged the cartilage in my knee, which is causing me a lot of pain. I have made three visits, four phone calls and had an X-ray. Have I actually got anywhere yet? No. I’ve been referred for a scan, but it could be April before this happens and if it requires surgery, which is likely, then it is another three-month wait.


The second public body was the Yorkshire Dales National Park (YDNP) Planning Authority. Well, if I thought this would be any easier I was sadly mistaken.


We have tried to exercise the right to use a permitted development order on an old barn. For the YDNP it is business as usual and that means no flexibility whatsoever. There is more elasticity in a brick. More to be said on that later, but suffice it to say it has got me going sufficiently to write to my MP William Hague.


If the same efficiencies had to be applied to government offices as it does to farming there would be huge savings to be made.


The 1 March saw our first tanker pick-up from Arla. A different tanker in the yard after 17 years was strange, and unusually at 11pm. So far, so good.


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