Farmer Focus: Planning for 2020 as winter feed looks secure

The contrast between the past two years continues to increase, almost beyond recognition.

Forage is so abundant this year that standing crops are available at minimal cost, and yet the weather has been fine enough for the summer to take on its nostalgic feel, with everyone cracking on, making hay while the sun shines.

Between what we have made to date and growing crops, we will meet our winter feed requirements.

This time last year we were already purchasing palm kernel extract and feeding with scarce silage to fill a summer feed deficit, then later purchasing hay, straw and blend to fill a winter deficit.

The ultimate contrast of these two years will be seen in financial performance for the year and mental wellbeing.

See also: Tips on staff management from 4 dairy farmers

Workloads are easily managed at this time of the year, with daily focus in the routine work of milking, cow health and grazing management.

Extra time allows the team to continue to improve and develop the farm, with electric fencing being tended to and increasing ragwort issues being addressed.

I think now is also a good time to start bringing next year into focus. A lot of what we do now is done with an eye on next season– from scanning, grassland management, forage making, cow condition, resting and team dynamics.

It’s a good time to evaluate our personal and work goals and reflect on how well these have been achieved, as well as looking at our strategies to achieve them. We will also adjust goals and set new ones.

I am a great believer in the “why” being so important in everything we do in our daily lives, and these goals help to answer some of the questions.

It is important to have goals and I get enjoyment from discussing these with our team and, when it’s useful and appropriate, helping them to accomplish them.

Goal setting is a great tool in our personal development, and I would urge anyone who hasn’t done so to embrace it.

Goals should be ambitious, specific and given a timeframe. Writing them down and keeping them visible is also a powerful tool.

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