Lack of rain has knocked silage quality for Joylon Higgs

On Gower low rainfall has resulted in a lack of grass growth. Early first-cut silage yielded quality rather than quantity and some aftermaths have been grazed rather than kept for second cut. Strangely, in mid Wales we had 60% more bales from first cut compared to a disappointing 2010.

The fodder beet in Gower is also looking drought-stressed, but the cereals are looking surprisingly well. Disease levels are low due to the dry weather and the robust fungicide programme which was applied in anticipation of the normal warm, damp spring.

We are selling continental-cross, bucket-reared, finished cattle that have achieved excellent grades, weights and growth rates but, with cereal prices as they are, it is not as profitable as we had anticipated when the calves were purchased. With input and output prices moving so dramatically, it is virtually impossible to do forward costings for any enterprise.

Alex and I had a couple of days off to make a return visit to farmers from the Derbyshire Peak District who visited mid Wales last year. We were looked after like royalty and, in an action-packed three days, were shown an amazing range of landscapes and farming systems.

We were impressed with Bakewell livestock market and town. Many thanks to our hosts and I am glad that I don’t have stone walls in mid Wales. It is a daily chore rebuilding those that have collapsed and I think that well-kept walls alone are worth the Single Farm Payment.

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