Farmer Focus Livestock: Julian Ellis squuezes budgets

This month has been quieter and we have all managed to have a day or two away. Sam and I went to Jersey and visited Gerald Durrell’s Zoo of endangered species. I’m pleased to report the lesser-spotted dairy farmer hasn’t got an enclosure yet.

We also managed to tidy the tractor shed ready for the YFC annual disco. They know how to party, unfortunately I’m not getting any better at throwing away junk and this year I have put it on pallets so I can take it out easier next year.

Bulls are due to come out of the cow fields before we get into the summer calvers. Dry cows are happy tidying up stale fields, but are not keen on the thistles or docks that are growing as well as the grass is. We will be altering the pre-calving group’s diet this year hoping we will reduce the number of retained afterbirths.

Our shed budget has once again been stretched because of the increased size of the slurry pit. We are constantly cursing the NVZ rules, but I am sure, in time, both us and the farm will see the benefit.

Our policy of trying not to borrow any equipment has also been stretched. With barley to spray and conditions ideal I borrowed a hydraulic ram to temporarily replace a broken one. Now with the second ram broken, the first one still not repaired, a third taken from our trailer and strong winds, I am beginning to regret my actions.

Next week we will be TB testing again. As always, we will be hoping for the all-clear, particularly now with less Guernsey herds about and replacement stock fetching good prices.

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