Farmer Focus: Straw costs forces housing plans

I am looking out of the window and what a fantastic view it is today.

The sky is blue and the light is tremendous. It really does make you feel better when the weather turns for the better.

I have just been looking at my expenditure. Straw has to be one of the most expensive commodities and has constantly increased in price over the last few years.

See more: More from our other Livestock Farmer Focus writers

The only thing I can do about this currently is keep our use to a minimum, but in order to reduce straw costs more investment will be needed in terms of cubicles for in-calf heifers.

As one problem gets resolved another arises.

With spring finally here we have started to get ready for turnout, hopefully by the middle of April.

The weather has been really mild and grass growth good, with no heavy frost to keep it in check.

Things have come to life. With a bit of sunshine and dry weather, everything starts to happen.

The calving shed has gone mad and the lambing shed is empty with our 30 sheep having lambed.

Looking back at some of my previous March-April records, I notice we consistently get a price move in the wrong direction for April.

Well for once, having signed with Arla, we have received notification that the price will be held for at least April. This is very welcome news.

In the past couple of weeks, days have been filled with fertiliser and slurry spreading.

The first application went on at the beginning of March at 60kg/acre and a further 90kg/acre is due to go on in a fortnight to three weeks’ time.

This will give us a total of 81 units of nitrate on cutting ground, with also 1,500 gallons of slurry to the acre, which gives us another 10-12 units of nitrogen, weather permitting.

Finally I have been riding around in style on a brand new Fendt tractor, courtesy of Brockhills of Yorkshire, while waiting for the “pimping up” of our second-hand purchase.

I would like to congratulate Brockhills for the excellent tractor and the first-class customer service – highly recommended.

Adrian Harrison farms 81ha in partnership with his father Maurice in Wensleydale, Yorkshire. He runs 130 pedigree Jersey cows with 70 followers. Milk is used to make Wensleydale cheese