Chris Knowles

27 July 2001

Chris Knowles

Chris Knowles farms in

partnership with his parents

in the West Penwith

Environmentally Sensitive

Area near St Ives, Cornwall.

The farm consists of 97ha

(240 acres) of grassland and

45ha (110 acres) of rough

moor land, stocked with 160

dairy cows, 80 followers and

50 assorted beef animals

THE first week in July has become the week to take our annual holiday. This year, as last, we headed 40 miles west to the Isles of Scilly.

One of the great attractions was within an hour of leaving home we had travelled to the heliport, checked in, watched the safety video, enjoyed the 20 minute flight and arrived at our accommodation. This all counts for a great deal when you have two young children. Another bonus is that I can spy on all my neighbours farms from above.

However, the downside of our holiday was the weekss weather. It rained nearly every day and in all we had 5cm (2in) of rain. As you can imagine, we returned to a different coloured farm from the one we left.

For the first time since April the grass was growing well, having survived the spring monsoon and cold winds followed by lack of rain. We were feeding three big square bales of silage a day for about 10 days at the end of June. We set an electric fence across the middle of our town field and spread silage out underneath wire along the entire length. This meant all cows had access at the same time.

In common with most livestock farms, we now have several cull cows waiting to go on the Over-30-Month Scheme. The effects of this schemes absence will be felt this winter with uneconomic stock eating into precious fodder supplies. The only other option is the Livestock Welfare Disposal Scheme, but it would seem the goal posts for getting cows onto this scheme are actually touching each other.

Recently, we managed to sell 10 in-calf heifers. The auctioneer came to value them, then returned a week later with a potential buyer, with whom we struck a deal. Then we waited 10 days for the movement licence to be sorted out. By this time we ended up selling five in-calf heifers and five freshly calved heifers &#42

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