Farmer Focus: Profit meeting and calving next on the agenda

Workloads are ramping up as we edge ever nearer to the start of calving.

Cows were walked back to the farm earlier this week and have received salmonella and rotavirus vaccines. The in-calf heifers have returned and have been teat-sealed prior to calving.  

Cows have enjoyed great winter conditions and have definitely put on body condition on a fodder beet and silage diet.

Doing the outwintering work since Christmas has been a dream. I managed to tempt the rain back this week by having the tenacity to consider ploughing the wintering ground now to allow the soil to break down and try to get a stale seed-bed.

We have concentrated on getting the calf-rearing sheds set up, with pens up and disinfected, along with some improvement works to feeding areas and shed cladding to improve ventilation and eliminate unwanted drafts.  

See also: The four fundamentals for growing 20t DM/ha

All feeding equipment has been cleaned and disinfected and iodine, colostrum bags and ear taggers also lie in wait.

Next week our discussion group is holding its annual Comparable Farm Profit (CFP) meeting, probably the group’s most important meeting of the year.

It gives an opportunity to see how businesses fared over the past 12 months, what members’ budgeting considerations are and the opportunity to benchmark against the best. 

It will be particularly interesting to see the differing effects of the drought and poor spring on the figures and understand what lessons were learned and what was done to tackle these problems.

I’m looking forward to getting stuck into the challenge again this year and a couple of months with very few trips off the farm will maybe be a good thing.

I did manage to get away over Christmas and this past week I have been rewarded with two separate speeding fines for two trips off the island.

With only one in the previous 17 years, I’m feeling a bit unlucky and nervous to leave again. 

Hopefully, when we emerge from the calving bubble, Brexit will be done and dusted (whatever the outcome). However, I fear it may take at least another calving season before we realise it.

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