Paul Vicary is working flat out to make hay

Well, we finally got to make some hay in the brief good weather window at the end of July. My only regret is that we did not cut more, but there are only so many hours in the day and my dad and I worked nearly all of them over ten days. However, we managed to make 300 round bales of hay and 450 bales of third/fourth-cut silage.

We are so ruled by the weather in this game, which puts real strain on our families. I wish there was another way. Anyway, enough moaning. We now have well over our budget of grass silage, which will help make up for our anticipated shortfall of maize. It’s the second year our maize has been close to a disaster – so much so, we plan to grow more wholecrop and reduce the maize proportion in the ration. This will no doubt coincide with the best maize growing year in history and all its faults will be forgotten, especially if feed wheat hits £200/t next year and we sell the whole crop.

I had a very interesting visit from two Indian businessmen, who are part of the Prabhat group of industries. The group has a large contract supplying condensed milk to Cadbury. They are looking to set up numerous large dairy units of 100/200 cows (This may sound small, but their average producer has three cows) in a large linked operation with a central feed depot. The aim is to bring mechanisation into their agriculture sector in the form of parlours/cultivations.

The thought of this got me quite excited and sad at the same time. Our industry is so flat, would there ever be that form of cooperation and forward thinking in this country? Sadly, I think not.

Paul Vicary farms 458ha at Hilders Farm, Kent, in partnership with his parents Helen and Graham. They milk 220 cows three times a day and have 200 followers and plan to increase herd size to 350 by 2015. They also run 500 ewes and ewe lambs.

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