Farmer Focus: Farmers must be the worst at health and safety

We’re well into calving now. Over 30% came in the first two and a half weeks.

As cows in milk increases so does our workload and so does the pressure.

It may seem obvious that the first third would be easier than the last. However, it is easy to be lulled into a comfort zone, when in fact our focus now is to streamline our processes and do everything on time and to a high standard.  

The same applies to staff energy levels, so making sure people are keeping well rested is vital and we avoid any burnouts.

See also: Farm health and safety: Farm and work vehicles

The team has taken on the challenge really well and is ready to get busier.

Routines have been forged in the first week or so, allowing people to get straight into the day without hesitation and with conviction.

In the parlour we are managing cows through the post-calving period, dealing with any potential metritis immediately and getting cows into the milking herd with good cell counts.

Calved cows are straight onto grass day and night and our target is to have 30% of the farm grazed by the end of March.  

Good winter growth and the recent dry spell has led to high grass covers, high dry matter content in the grass, and excellent grazing conditions.  

This has afforded us the recent luxury of grazing a dry cow group on the platform to ensure we are grazing sufficient area per day and is helping to stretch-out our winter feed stocks.

We have recently completed a full health and safety audit on the farms. The teams have all completed an induction to UTV (utility vehicle) and load-all training.  

Having tried to tackle H&S in-house, it’s clear that an external audit is the only way of guaranteeing it gets completed and done properly.  

It’s a topic that carries a stigma and I confess I can’t comprehend some bits, but it’s critical that as an industry we strive to create a working environment that gets everyone home safely every day, and truth be told, we’re currently the worst industry at doing that.

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