Farmer Focus: In 2023 weather cost us, but it wasn’t all bad

I hope everyone had a relaxing Christmas (although this is unlikely for anyone with livestock). New Year’s Day comes and goes quickly after a week of Sundays, and I am quite pleased to turn my back on 2023.

It all started in May, when the weatherman couldn’t be trusted, so our first cut was clamped wet before a week of dry weather that was forecasted to be wet.

I’m still paying for that now, as the silage clamp keeps slipping and causing what I think is a mycotoxin issue in the milkers, leading to a mastitis outbreak.

See also: Advice on dealing with high mycotoxins in silage

About the author

Tom Hildreth
Livestock Farmer Focus writer Tom Hildreth and family grow grass and maize for the 130-cow herd of genomically tested 11,000-litre Holsteins near York supplying Arla. The Hildreths run a café, ice cream business and milk vending machine on the farm.
Read more articles by Tom Hildreth

A mycotoxin binder was introduced into the diet, and within a few days I saw a significant increase in yield, and there have been no new cases of mastitis since.

The wheat for wholecrop turned out terrible because of the drought and cost us litres over the summer.

Harvest was a challenging time where we didn’t seem to have much more than two days of good weather, which made baling more difficult than it should have been.

All straw was brought home and dry with varying degrees of quality.

The cubicle shed overhaul was completed, but I’m still not sure if I made a mistake concreting over sand to put in mattresses.

I think the bedding additive has settled the environmental mastitis down and I’m using it every morning before applying the sawdust.

I thought the summer holidays would be the best time to run an ice cream shop, but the wet weekends cost us in lost revenue.

We are, however, finishing the year having paid ourselves a fair wage and paid off a bit of the start-up loan.

There’s even a couple of quid left over in the bank account, so I think it’s generally good for the first full year of a new business.

I should say 2023 wasn’t a completely terrible year. The difficult bits get lost in the back of your mind and the lessons you learned from them stay a little bit further forward.

I’ll always remember it as the year I went ring shopping.

Back in May I got down on one knee and asked my other half of seven years if she fancied getting married. Just in case you’re wondering, she said yes.