Farmer Focus Livestock: Tom Rawson says beer and milk don’t mix

The reality of entering my 30s was bought home to me the other weekend. A few quiet beers with the farm team ended up with us crawling out of a Wakefield nightclub at 3.30am, followed by the rash decision to crack on and get milked.

We got finished about six o’clock just as my parents turned out to start bottling milk; it took me until Monday to recover.

After a week at grass at the end of January followed by 10 days of snow cover, we have now been grazing every day since. Growth rates have varied from 24-48kg/DM/ha a day. But, due to a strange twist of fate, we seem to have silage left in the clamp to help us keep our round length spot on.

Having experimented using Friesian sexed semen on our Jersey cross heifers, I am glad to say we had good results, with 70% in calf to first service. Having no vet intervention, I put this down to three things: The condition of the heifers, the high fertility of the crossbreds, and the advantage of using RMS AI service to spot them bulling.

As a follow up to previous articles my father has just completed his first solo flight. Apparently, he is now technically known as a pilot. He is fully insured in case the worst happens. In fact if OMSCO drops our milk price too much things might have to be “arranged”.

April 1 sees us take on a 113ha (280-acre) farm under a contract agreement where we will rear our youngstock and grow organic cereals for the dairy herd. Our first job is to knock in about 1500 fencing posts and get the heifers out grazing.

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