Livestock Farmer Focus: Tom Rawson’s new parlour is finished

First, welcome to three new members of the team, Tom as herdsman in Dewsbury and Tom and Will as weekenders at Market Rasen.

Out of the 10 full- or part-time people involved in our business, amazingly 50% are called Tom.

It is also our Harper Adams year-out student Laura’s last month on her placement. It is satisfying to have someone start the year having never milked a cow, and finish the year wanting to enter the industry full-time. As per usual the summer months have an international feel with three French students and a New Zealander – sounds like more beer to be drunk – just to be sociable, of course.

Measuring pasture on seven dairy units between Lincoln and Glasgow is proving to be interesting, with Ayrshire being the most unpredictable. Peaking at growth of 150kg/ha DM a day followed the next week by 30kg/ha DM a day, making decisions on silaging on the platform somewhat exciting.

In Lincolnshire, we have been playing around with irrigation. The results speak for themselves, with three times the grass growth on the part of the paddock that received quarter of an inch of “fake rain”. It is now a serious thought for the future on a farm with 23.5in of annual rainfall if it can enable us to double the stocking rate.

The new parlour at Market Rasen is up and running milking 118 cows in 40 minutes. Another 60 are due to arrive in the next couple of days. A big thanks to both the shed builders, Chris and Derek, and parlour builders, M R Dean for a great job. Amazingly its only eight weeks since the start of the project. Next it’s the turn of 60 new cubicles and 400ft of new feed barrier.

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