John Glover milks 65 Holstein
Friesian cows and rears
replacements on a 40ha
(100-acre) county council
holding near Lutterworth,
Leics, having moved from
another 20ha (51-acre) unit
WELL we were the talk of the picket lines. One neighbour referred to our news as the juiciest gossip for a long time. But what is this all about? Well, Ill tell you later.
There has been much local activity in support of Farmers For Action and lets hope it does some good. At least it should show supermarkets and dairy companies how severe the dairy industrys crisis really is.
Standing on the picket lines is also an opportunity to catch up with neighbours – and gossip – and realise that we are all in the same position.
The current crisis makes us look long and hard at our own individual businesses and try and find the best way to survive.
There is much talk about making more from grazing and calving cows in spring. Individually this may be alright, but if too many farmers do it we would produce more spring milk than the dairy industry needs.
We are used to seasonality payments when we are paid less for milk in the spring as national production rises with grass growth, then in late summer when growth slows, milk production falls and prices increase.
I think too much emphasis on producing more milk in spring, from so called cheap grass, will change seasonality payments so the differential between spring and summer increases.
This would mean that producers who rely heavily on spring production will effectively have a lower annual milk price than those herds calving at other times of the year.
Our system is built around a maize based diet, which is fed to the cows all year round, and it means that we can play the seasonality game the other way round and calve cows to produce more milk when seasonality payments are highest.
By the way, the gossip was about my neighbour and myself. We have decided to survive the current economic climate by forming a partnership so that between us we milk 150 cows with followers on 80ha (220 acres). A far cry from the 60 cows and 32ha (80 acres) I had three years ago, but more of that another time. *
John Glovers system is based around maize silage – this means he produces milk when the seasonality payments are highest.