Farmer Focus: Daunting list of tasks to do this month

Volatility is the current buzz word and all farming businesses are being advised to assess their risk.

Futures pricing, forward contracts and such are being heralded as the tools to help stabilise any change in prices.

With all this is mind, no one has told Mother Nature and it always amazes how much of farming relies on a good May.

There is grass silage to do and maize to plant. On top of this, stock are being turned out for summer and the sheds being emptied behind them.

Others are being mated ready to give birth next year. They will soon need worming and treated with fly pour-on. All that plus the usual jobs to be squeezed in around it all.

See also: Keep up to date with all the latest business news

There’s a lot to do within 31 days. In reality the work window is far less than that when you take out rainy days. You can take your life in your own hands threatening a weekend off when there’s silage to be done.

It is daunting to think of the after effects, though. Poor silage or grazing can really hamper a business. T

here’s nothing worse than having a big pile of rubbish for the girls to eat or seeing cows still bulling when the bulls have been pulled out after breeding.

The effects of May will be felt long after the bank holidays have been and gone.

Here at Treburthes we’ve had a mixed May. While April and May weather seemed to have swapped places, it could always be worse.

Summer hasn’t quite arrived yet as nights are still chilled. Our maize has only recently been planted, but green shoots are appearing. Grass growth is slightly off where I would hope it to be.

Last autumn’s heifers are still waiting for turnout, which is not far away now.

We can rest easy though knowing dad’s shorts remain safely tucked away in the cupboard for the time being. Maybe the mixed weather is a blessing after all.


Ross Symons farms 200 dairy cows, including his own small herd of pedigree Holsteins, with his parents near Truro, Cornwall. They are converting their year-round calving herd to autumn block calving

Read more from our other livestock farmer focus writers