Farmer Focus: Farm audit leads to small, inexpensive changes

We made it – 2020 has arrived. It feels like a fresh start, filled with optimism and potential.

I took the opportunity to reflect on my first decade in full-time employment over Christmas. And when you drill down on it, I am not sure I will have a busier 10 years.

Although I always used to think it was a little bit naff looking back and reminiscing, I think sometimes it is important.

It has made me appreciate what has been achieved, both personally and in business terms. Not something you always give yourself chance to do.

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The Christmas period passed by without any major issues. Even when a problem arose on the Saturday, it was quite amusing – I looked across the yard to see Mum corner in the scraper tractor and the front wheel snapped clean off.

I was not quite as amused when the next morning a pipe burst in the boom of the JCB. Fortunately, after a few expletives I was able to spend the next two days driving a large, shiny new loader while ours was fixed.

My major highlight was my four-year-old godson entertaining us on Christmas night. He was still going strong long after I fell asleep in front of the fire.

On 14 December we were lucky to host a visit from World Wide Sires, which brought over Scott Abbott from the US. He runs their global training centre (GTC).

A big thank you must go to Mike Halliwell and the team who, with about 15 farmers, spent the day undertaking a farm audit. At times it felt like more of a grilling, but it was fantastic and, as a team, we learned an awful lot.

It was refreshing that nearly all of the ideas and suggestions that were raised were quick wins with very little cost involved.

They included simple things such as how we group the cows and increasing feed barrier heights. 

We took the time to easily rectify these things over Christmas and we have already started seeing benefits. 

A trip to the US to visit the GTC is at the top of my wishlist. Let’s hope an improved milk price can help deliver it.

Read more about Shropshire farmer Henry Wilson