Tom Rawson enjoys Nuffield trip to Northern Ireland

First-cut silage has been taken everywhere but Wrexham, with some pleasing results. After last year’s drought, the conservation of forage is a major focus, and not having enough for the winter is no longer an option.

At Dewsbury, 46 acres of maize have been drilled – the last time was 12 years ago – this will hopefully fill a clamp and for the first time for a long time give me something to fill in the column marked “closing silage stocks”.

Mating is under way on three farms and so far is going well – cow condition has been added this spring and will hopefully show in the PD results. Grass growth is consistent, but the 100kg DM a day still eludes us, although temperatures are set to rise.

The annual Nuffield Dairy Group trip was this year over in Northern Ireland. Over the past five years I have been on some excellent dairying trips away, and this ranked very near the top. A heady mix of farm trips, history lessons and socialising, highlights apart from the farm visits were dinner at Stormont, an insight into food company Mash Direct and a very theatrical “Titanic walk”.

The Nuffield Scholarships Trust is an amazing organisation. I and many others owe it so much; you can probably tell by the times I have mentioned it over the years.

Closing dates for applications this year is 31 July – get on with it. The milk price drop may well be the catalyst to re-evaluate where you are at.

Tom and Catherine Rawson are involved in three separate dairy farming businesses. The core activity is sharemilking around 1,000 cows on a low input forage-based system over three sites. Tom is also a partner in a dairy consultancy company.

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