Peter Wastenage, in
partnership with his parents,
farms a 121ha (300-acre)
farm tenanted from Clinton
Devon Estates. He milks
175 cows, rears his own
replacements and grows
40ha (100 acres) of maize.
IVE never experienced poaching and drought stress within the same paddock in one month before. Its the result of persistent rain which finally stopped to be replaced by three very hot, dry weeks, causing exposed steeper ground to burn.
Maize has flown out of the ground after finally being planted on Apr 28, about two weeks later than normal. The crop has not gone through the "yellow" stage that we normally see. Im not sure if this is because of the extra phosphate put on with the drill or the very hot weather – probably a combination of both. Anyway, it now seems to have caught up with other years.
Cows are now grazing very high covers of grass over the farm. We have decided only to cut any surplus paddocks as a last resort. With a dry period settling in so early, this will mean we have a decent wedge of grass going into the summer. Even though quality would not be as good as I would normally like to graze it will still be of higher quality than silage and of course far cheaper and easier to use.
Twenty acres of kale and 18 acres of stubble turnips have been planted and have germinated well, our intention being to graze the turnips this summer before reseeding, then continue to use the kale for winter forage.
It was very pleasing to receive our Milk Marque hygiene bonus. It certainly comes at a time when every bonus payment helps. I find it quite staggering how much quota is being leased at high prices with the price of milk at present. There must be some farmers producing milk incredibly cheaply or some people who enjoy working for very little.
Cows numbers hit the 250 mark last month, so we have decided to sell 40 summer calvers. This will reduce our stocking rate to a more realistic level and increase our speed to block calving. *
Peter Wastenage hopes grazing high grass covers will give more grass for summer.