Farmer Focus: Business as usual on farm despite pandemic

In these very strange times we live in, it is business as normal on the farms.

Cows need milking, animals need feeding and the only guarantee we have at present is that this cycle will not change. 

At home, we are lucky to live in open countryside and we are accustomed to relative isolation from the general public, so the forthcoming period of social distancing will have a far lesser effect on us than people stranded in our towns and cities. 

See also: Coronavirus lifts lamb trade, but will it be short-lived?

While our policy can only be heads down and carry on, it is impossible to not feel a sense of apprehension for what may be still to come. 

As farmers, the best service we can give to the public is to ensure the country’s food supply continues with as little interruption as possible and respect our collective social responsibility to minimise the spread of any infection.

It’s very similar to dealing with groups of animals or poultry, really.

Calving is drawing to a close very quickly and has been reasonably straightforward again this year. 

Our biggest challenges have been faced outside of the parlour, with heavy periods of rain making grazing management challenging at times and a higher number of cows suffering with milk fever 24-48 hours after calving than we have experienced before. 

Sam has been responsible for the grazing and has navigated the cows around the farm well, managing to graze wet fields when conditions allow and using reels and imagination at times to get cows to and from pasture without causing any damage. 

Aside from milk fever, once in the parlour, cows are getting by with few other problems. Cleansings have been good and the vast majority are passing our California Milk Test (CMT) four day after calving. 

For anyone who wants to join a spring grazing team, we are looking to take a new team member. 

It would suit someone looking to develop their career in dairy, enhance their understanding of grazing systems and realise the opportunity to grow into a second-in-command role and beyond.

Johnjo Roberts is a Farmer Focus writer on Anglesey. Read his biography.