FARMER FOCUS: You never stop learning

It’s the middle of April and only now can we see some signs of spring arriving. This morning, our last cow calved from our spring herd and thankfully Schmallenberg has not been a problem for us, writes Ross Symons.

While our silage ran out not long ago, we’ve been able to buy from a neighbour, which should see us through until grass growth picks up. We can count ourselves fortunate that we’ve been able to get it, unlike farmers affected by the snowdrifts.

As farmers we’re known for being a persevering bunch and I hope anyone affected can hang on in there.

Last week I took part in a training course designed to help dairy farmers understand more about cow signals and what they say about their diet. Naturally this involved looking at cowpats, but also included less obvious indicators, such as shoulder licking, silage sticking to the nose and excitement levels. Time will tell whether it works or not, but looking at the cows in a more structured way can only be beneficial to the management of them.

As you read this, I will have just canoed up the Thames along with the rest of our small group from Cornwall YFC. We’ll then be heading to Blackpool to join the thousands of other young farmers for the National Convention. I know its not an ideal time to leave for a holiday, but it never is.

Ross Symons farms 200 dairy cows, including his own small herd of pedigree Holsteins, with his parents near Truro, Cornwall. They are converting their year-round calving herd to autumn block calving

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