Hoping for a dry spell

Happy New Year to you all and let’s hope that 2013 is a better year for farmers than 2012 was. With 40in of rain recorded here last year, which is 12in up on our average rainfall, we are hoping for a drier spell to let the fields start to recover.

Christmas and New Year passed quietly, with staff having a well-earned two-week holiday. It meant that Andrew and Harry had to help out with feeding and bedding the cows.

The cows have now settled down after weaning and have started to gain condition. We are having to feed more concentrate than normal in order to improve the condition of the cows, which were leaner at weaning due to the bad weather and the poor silage quality. This year’s silage is probably the worst quality that we have ever made, but at least we have plenty of it.

Just before Christmas we had a meeting with our grain rep. He had new three-year malting barley grain contracts for us to sign. With the uncertainty of the market we are reluctant to commit to being tied into contracts for another three years. We don’t know how many cattle we are going to have to feed over this time.

Selling forward and contracting grain is a bit like livestock farmers putting the bull out into a field with 50 cows and at that point selling 50 calves before they have even been born. We know that would be unrealistic.

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