Richard Charmley is a tenant on a 73ha (180-acre) dairy unit at Ightfield near Whitchurch in Shropshire which supports 130 Holstein Friesian and nine pigs.
WE have recently had some good heifers come into the herd by Lexis, Sunnyboy and Inspiration with PINS of 60.
They have also had heifer calves by Marconi, an easy-calving bull resulting in offspring with a PIN of 80.
They are milking well and pushing our quota threshold to nearer 2.5% over, which I feel is a little too much, so the calves on the bucket and the weaned calves are now having it thrown down the trough and looking healthy on it.
Up until now we have enjoyed a milk price of 26p/litre and any drop in this for the next 12 months will be a big concern, as we have done budgets and set targets. We told this to our Bodfari farm liaison officer when he called for a chat and coffee, and had to take cover under the stairs.
On another note we have had problem calvings where calves did not seem to have the will to live. After mentioning this to Den, the vet, a series of blood tests were taken. The results showed a deficiency in copper and selenium. Two decisions were made – first, to feed all dry cows 0.5kg of Soprolin right through their dry period to increase UDP, costing £7 a cow; second, to give all cows and heifers two trace element boluses, as we are approaching turnout and the cows will be fed less concentrate.
At the same time we also vaccinated for lepto. Tempers were frayed after nosing 10 – we still had 130 to go – although it was good training for the rugby, especially since Whitchurch has reached the final of the North Midlands cup against Worcester on Apr 27.
One of our two ageing tractors has been terminally ill for some time. Mechanic father and brother fitted a new cheap clutch at Christmas time, but this has gone again. Now we have to decide whether we change the tractor for a decent tractor and loader or buy a loading shovel. Maybe the milk price/bank manager will decide this for us.n
Richard Charmley has done budgets and set targets assuming a milk price of 26ppl, and any drop in this for the next 12 months will be a big concern.