Farmer Focus Livestock: New machine speeds up harvest for William Slinger

After several years of planning for an earlier start to silage cutting, this year we managed it, with a record early cut. The dry weather made this possible, unlike the past two years when the weather didn’t help. We are pleased with our investment, as the new forager has performed perfectly.

Harvesting has been limited by the slowest part of the operation, whether it is mowing, carting, or the speed of the forage harvester. We now have a better balanced system. It will be interesting to see how the cows milk on this earlier cut grass this winter.

The collapse of Dairy Farmers of Britain is the single biggest financial disaster this sector has endured in generations. One long-term lessonof history is that there is not much new, and one of the most disappointing lessons of history is that man seldom learns from his mistakes.

Once committed to producing food, the farmer is obliged to sell his produce within a narrow period of time, when it is saleable. Grain can be stored, at a cost. Lamb or beef can be held back from market for a time, also at a cost. But with milk the problem is more acute, as it has to be sold and processed daily. Perfect for the buyer, as the seller has no option but to sell and generally buyers can simply wait until the seller is forced to concede a sale, on the buyer’s own terms.

The dairy producer can either accept the offered price or cease production. If all farmers follow this conundrum through to its logical conclusion, then without state regulation, mankind would starve to death. However imperfect, history’s answer was called the Milk Marketing Board.

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