Louis Baugh and his wife farm 186ha (460 acres) at Neatishead Hall and 91ha (225 acres) at Beech Farm near Norwich in Norfolk. About 100 autumn calving Holstein Friesian cows and followers are grazed on Broads ESA marshes with forage from Italian ryegrass and maize.
AUGUST has been a hot dry month, which led our herdsman Phil Howard to suggest adjusting our buffer feeding of bale silage. The stale cows continue to have access to bale silage and maize silage after milking, but the fresh calvers have been loose housed at night and fed ryegrass and maize silage, brewers grains, pulp nuts and stock feed potatoes to produce M+25 litres, with preferential day grazing.
If the milk price continues to fall I can see the above practice, amongst others, being questioned.
At the risk of being called a cynic I question the practice of our milk buyers MD Foods, which have to serve three months notice of any intended price change. During this calendar year to November, over 17% will be wiped off our output value; on every occasion the difficult trading conditions and an anticipated green currency revaluation have been cited. I ask would the reverse conditions result in the same degree of anticipation and upward price adjustment? Somehow I think not.
We have recently decided to partake in black magic and witchcraft: Yes, we are trying embryo transfer for the first time. With open eyes, minds (wallet) and a realistic approach from the ET vet Bob Britton the donors are being synchronised and the heifer recipients selected at 385kg liveweight. This project is being considered as a possible route to overcoming the frustration with our herds rate of genetic progress.
With regards to progress, I was a little surprised by the rebirth of the possible amalgamation of the Holstein Friesian and British Holstein Societies. It transpires that a lobby group within HFS wishes this to occur along with a radical restructuring underpinned by EU cash.
I can see the benefits of such a course of action but I am also mindful of how past discussion over a lengthy period proved fruitless. The motivation on both sides should be in the long-term interests of their members, not a rushed process based on the promise of the pot of EU gold which may or may not be available. To those who lead the parties involved I remind them that coercion rarely results in consensus. *
Louis Baugh is trying embryo transfer to speed up his herds genetic progress. Donors are currently being synchronised and heifer recipients selected at 385kg liveweight.