Farmer Focus: Three seasons of weather in a month

How the weather has drastically changed. Before AgriScot we had three seasons in one week; snow, wind and rain.

Now we have a hard frost, which means the pipes in the calf shed have frozen, so my calf feeder is not happy as she has to cart water from the dairy to the calf shed.

The change of weather means the grass is disappearing, so now we only have 14 heifers and one bull outside.

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We were relieved that Michael’s Progen group were quite lenient towards us upon their visit.

Twelve of them were here for the day, arriving at 8.00am and leaving at 5.30pm, so we didn’t get much work out of Michael that day.

The result of their discussion was very favourable.

They suggested that we raise the feed barriers so that the animals stop rubbing the tops of their necks.

We also had 19 Irishmen visit after AgriScot. It was a very pleasant visit; they were keen to see a grass-based system, which fed wholecrop rather than maize as they don’t grow maize and wanted to see a similar system to their own.

They kindly left a bottle a lethal gin as we found out one evening with friends.

It has been quite a quiet month, but I did get a day out at Murrayfield with Galbraiths.

It was a farming seminar which fortunately happened to include watching the Edinburgh v Ulster match; so it was an enjoyable day.

We are reducing the size of Sheila’s Jersey herd and we sold four milkers not long ago, and as yet the butterfat has actually gone up.

We have had a discussion with the nutritionist and have had to pull the draff out of the total mixed ration to become more cost effective, as draff has risen by £6/t.

On a final note, we would like to wish everyone a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.

Brian Yates milks 250 pedigree Holsteins in partnership with his wife Sheila, son Michael and daughter Anna. Surplus heifers are sold for breeding.