Sue & Andy Guy
New Farmer Focus
contributors Sue and Andy
Guy farm 32ha (198 acres)
on a FBT in Notts. They are
expanding their 76-cow
pedigree high health status
Holstein herd which
averages 6900 litres
MOVING house is supposed to be one of lifes most stressful events, but moving farm in the middle of a foot-and-mouth crisis is worse.
On the last day of June, we loaded the Lottabottle herd and all our clutter on to 11 lorries and flitted 150 miles from a 24ha (60-acre) county council tenancy to 32ha (198 acres) in Notts. Rented from a member of the family on a 15-year farm business tenancy, the farm is IACS registered, but all down to grass or clover.
The move was three months later than planned and was a rushed job because DEFRA issued the licence only 72 hours before we left.
Broadly speaking, Sue does the mucky stuff while Andy handles the oily things. We began farming in 1997 with 54 young cows bought from one source and we have bred replacements from them to create the Lottabottle herd. We run a closed herd with high health status, calving all year round.
Lately we have been working hard to get the new system running smoothly. We are modernising cubicles to accommodate larger Holstein cows. But we still need to alter rails on feed yards, convert part of the dutch barn into livestock accommodation and build a base for calf hutches.
We have made five cuts of silage this year, including one for the incoming tenant in Gloucester. There are some existing red clover leys here in Notts, but they were slow to grow, so we cut grass on May 21, followed by clover two weeks later. The second cut was better organised in late July. We also planted 16ha (40 acres) of red clover/ ryegrass reseeds, but first cut of these was delayed until August.
Our policy of breeding everything black-and-white is under review, but the closed herd status will remain as we work towards 125 cows in two years time. We are increasing yields from 6900 litres and profits need improving too.
Better rationing and comfortable cows should help yields while profits will come from efficient feed conversion, better milk prices and tighter management. Time will tell. *
A desire to increase cow numbers and hopefully profits lies behind Sue and Andy Guys decision to move to a larger unit earlier this year.