Archive Article: 2000/02/11

11 February 2000

Christian Fox

Christian Fox manages 130

spring-calving cows and

followers, on a 200ha

(500 acre) mixed farm in

West Sussex, with 150ha

(380 acres) of arable crops.

He is aiming for high profits

and low costs by maximising

use of grazed grass

MAFF really does have a customer care problem; it has just contacted us because one of the Jerseys has a suspected BSE dam.

The Vet Lab Agency man who visited to verify the ill-fated beasts presence was amiable. But the letter which preceded him was not. I find words like seize and restrain are more suited to escaped convicts. What next: Wanted posters?

It has been back to reality with a jolt this month, having started calving a good three weeks before our planned start date. This is thanks to 45 purchased heifers, 35 of which calved early.

Dry cows are still up on the forage rape ground, but are now being fed silage and straw. The plough is already polished and attached to a large tractor ready for the field, so I guess I will have to find somewhere else for cows soon.

Milkers are out at grass day and night, but also get some left-over two-year-old maize silage that needs finishing pretty quickly. This is trailer-fed in the loafing area for an hour either side of milking.

They are also eating 3kg of concentrate in the parlour. This is maize gluten – which I over ordered for youngstock – but I will eventually feed a cheap cake with minerals. The main reason for a cheap cakes is that our antiquated feeders, invented by someone who never saw a cow in a parlour, spew gluten at a bash from a cows head.

Now I am milking again, my mind drifts to rather obscure places. Last week the following drifted through the void which I will leave you with as a teaser. What happens to all the part litres produced?

Every time your milk is collected the ticket reads a whole number of litres, but this must actually be at least 0.1 or at most 0.9 litres out. Where are these part litres going? On every-day collection you could be losing nearly £6 a year. Not much, until you add up the number of producers. A nice bonus for someone.

I suspect I will soon receive a letter from Milk Marque using words like seize and restrain. &#42

It is back to reality for Christian Fox. After a few early calving heifers he has started milking again.

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