Varied growth dominates fields for Tom Rawson

Grass growth at Dewsbury is 40 times what it was a year ago, yielding a nice grass wedge, cows turning into 3,000 covers and allowing us to drop the bought-in concentrates back to 3kg a head a day.

The stocking rate on the platform has been five cows to the hectare for most of the season, meaning that silage taken early on has been fed back over the last few weeks as growth dipped below demand.

Wholecrop wheat has been taken at York, coming in at around 20t fresh weight to the hectare. Meanwhile, maize as on all farms, is looking decidedly varied; some is over my head, other parts of the same field are below the knee.

Our family holiday this year was to fellow Farmers Weekly contributors Neil and Lynda Perkins in beautiful Pembrokeshire. As Neil was chairman of Fishguard Show this year, I spent the two nights before the show helping to set up and one day after taking down. As one local farmer commented: “I bet you didn’t know it was a four-day show.”

The highlight of the event was an excellent Bavarian night, and there was certainly a heavy price to pay for low-level Farmers Weekly fame. At one point I had five shot glasses in a pint of half bitter/half lager – lovely. Thanks for some great hospitality from old friends and new, especially to George John, who bought us lunch on the strength of a mention in Farmer Focus.

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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