Farmer Focus: Pouring milk down drains must be heartbreaking

This past month has flown by. The weather has been amazing for lambing and first cut of silage.  

As I write this, we are due to cut on 5 May. It looks to be a big crop and quality looks high, which will be the mainstay of our forage for the milking herd through winter.

We are onto the last handful of ewes to lamb, which has been brilliant. After the first cycle, there were only 36 multiples left to lamb out of 428, which is great going and should give us a consistent bunch of lambs in the autumn.

See also: 8 ways to prepare for a busy lambing season

The ewes have lambed very much unassisted, with very few issues and plenty of grass in front of them.

The milking herd are really performing now. We got back to predominantly 2019 first-cut silage and milk jumped up four litres in five days to 36.7 litres.

Milk quality took a slight nosedive, going from 4.1% fat down to 3.8%, but the total mixed ration has been adjusted and the quality seems to be rising again.

All landscaping is now complete around both the new sheds and the new slurry lagoon. We are just waiting for the grass seeds to grow.

We have been checking for a few weeks to see when the seeds will germinate, but because it has been so dry, the lack of moisture in the soil has delayed germination – they look to be coming now.

I hope everyone is staying safe in these uncertain times. I have the deepest sympathy for farmers supplying some processors severely affected by the milk crisis.

It must be heartbreaking to see their hard work literally going down the drain or being paid well below the cost of production.

Hopefully, some time soon, things will slowly start to open again, and everyone can get back to a slight bit of normality.

Farmers in general are lucky. We can carry on nearly as normal, whereas inner-city folk are stuck in a house or apartment with little or no garden or space.

I cannot imagine how that would feel.


Patrick Morris-Eyton is a Farmer Focus writer from Cumbria. Read his biography.