Farmer Focus Livestock: Forage wagon raises efficiency for Tim Downes

The new silage forage wagon has, with Andrew at the wheel, enabled us to bring this year’s grass crop in more efficiently, with 20% more to a load.

The quality is good with some fast wilting, meaning Simon has had to stop cutting, otherwise we would have been ensiling hay. This is not a good idea as the longer chop length makes it hard to compact in the pit.

After sheeting the silage pit, Louise and I started building Isabel and Oliver’s garden play shed. It is amazing what you can build with just a cordless drill. In the dark it is not always possible to ensure the angles are 100%, but it should be safe.

We are among the 400 farms preparing for Open Farm Sunday and hoping we get a day the public will enjoy. OMSCo is running a hedgerow safari looking for bugs and the new 18sq m concrete laid will hopefully smooth the trailer ride around the farmyard.

I recently attended the first DairyCo regional feedback forum for the West Midlands. We stressed the importance of Datum, breeding+ and extension officers – all areas they do well.

This year has seen an increase in news coverage of TB; we are still battling on having lost 18 animals so far this year. By the time you read this we will have received our slightly cheaper bluetongue vaccine to protect the stock. I also intend to smother the dry cows with black beech tar to prevent fly problems and summer mastitis.

Dad had a good bit of news; having lost a good stainless steel spade more than five years ago, it turned up in the back of our vacuum tanker where it had been since the last time it had been cleared of gravel. Was this dad’s ploy to only garden with a mini-digger?

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