Julian Ellis is pleased with energy grant

Our county has been fortunate in recent years to receive funding from Europe for various agriculture-related projects, the most recent of which is funding directed at energy efficiency on farm.

We took advantage of this opportunity and had an energy audit carried out, the outcome being that we have qualified for a grant towards a variable speed vacuum pump and washdown pump. As our vacuum pumps are running for about seven hours a day the energy savings could be significant.

I appreciate some dairy farmers from other parts of the country may consider this grant unfair and I would tend to agree. However, I am not so sure that fair is a word I would associate with our industry, particularly with the variation in milk prices and the patchy nitrate vulnerable zones, which are forcing good milk producers to make tough decisions. Rightly or wrongly, we have decided to maintain cow numbers and, therefore, will be extending the slurry pit.

Despite a few showers, silage was made at the beginning of May in good conditions. The new forage wagon performed very well and we were delighted with the better chop length, as was the man on the buckrake. Time will tell if the cows agree. We had the tractor chipped an extra 20hp to cope with the bigger machine. Lets hope that is not the reason why it is now at the dealers with a drive problem.

The growing of six acres of peas has been a learning curve, with them suffering from various ailments, some of which I have never heard of, including a leaf eating midge. However, I am pleased to report the two rows in my vegetable patch are coming on lovely.

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