Farmer Focus Livestock: Paul Vicery bemoans bad weather

The last month has been a challenge as numbers and workloads have increased, with bad weather delaying the last 50 acres of hay and our small bit of wheat.

We will cease to grow wheat next year, as we will have to “walk” the corn off the farm by feeding it to the cows, unless feed wheat prices make a recovery, as £85/t is a poor price and not sustainable.

The bad weather is going to delay maize harvest, similar to the last two years when we have foraged in mid-October, a challenge on our heavy ground. I hope this wet mid/late summer is not a new trend of climate change, as I may have to reconsider some earlier varieties. It certainly does not help following with crops of grass/wheat when harvest is so late.

The workload has eased though, with the return of our old herdsman, Ben Dyer. It’s great to have him back and nice to have someone who knows the system. This will free myself up to do more field work and little jobs such as foot trimming, fencing and budget and forage plans, critical to the running of a dairy farm.

I had an enjoyable afternoon stock judging for the West Grinstead Ploughing Match and would like to thank Michael Nash for showing me some superb stock. One thing I noticed, was on all four farms I visited they had a large surplus of stock that they were hoping to sell. Is this common? And if yes, how will it affect the price of stock? Maybe it is time to start using a bit more beef semen?

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