What burgers should teach us.   BRITISH FARMERS     The problem we have had with all our milk and meat lately is we get paid a price below the cost of production. It’s about the whole farming industry. This has made us realise we have to engage much more with consumers if we are…

Your milk under the microscope

At this week’s BGS / BSAS conference in Malvern, Mike Wilkinson from Nottingham University presented a paper titled “Trends and targets for milk from forage”, in which he highlighted how little milk actually comes from forage on many farms. Data collected from farms costed by Promar farm business consultancy showed that the average milk yield…

Deception and perception

The horsemeat found in beef products throughout UK supermarkets may not have posed any significant risk to the health of those eating it, but it has caused widespread mistrust. The shocking findings by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) have exposed how the demand for cheap food has resulted in consumers being deceived on a massive…

Symphony of the Soil

  Last week I had the privilege of being invited to a private screening of a new film called ‘Symphony of the Soil’. A whole hour and a half of people enthusing about soil – enough to send anyone to sleep I hear you say. But, no, not at all, it was fascinating and (dare…

We choose to have fertile cows

Whenever I go through our National Milk Records (NMR) reports, following monthly milk recording, I’m always grateful that we don’t seem to have any major problems with infertility in the herd – especially when I hear of the impact it is having on profitability on some farms. Our latest NMR fertility summary shows rolling 12…

What a waste!

I was astounded to hear that as much as half of the food produced in the world does not reach people’s stomachs. According to a new report from the UK’s Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IME) between 1.2 and 2.0 billion tonnes of food produced around the world never makes it onto a plate. The IME’s…

New Year’s Resolutions

After one of the most difficult years in living memory, many dairy farmers will be wondering whether or not they will still be milking cows at the end of 2013 and who can blame them? The squeeze put on milk prices back in the early summer, dreadful weather and the continuing increase in input costs,…

Turnout time

Here we are in the depths of winter at a time when days are short and nights are long. The grass is hardly growing right now and much of what there is lies under water. So it’s hard to think about the time when spring will come and we will be turning our cows out…

The Dairy Fund

  Have you heard about the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) Dairy Fund? In July 2012, the Prime Minister announced that £5m would be made available to the dairy sector under the RDPE to help dairy producers increase their competitiveness and achieve added value to boost their market returns. The aims of the fund…

Another feel good movie

Not to be outdone by the Danes (Arla), Dutch dairy company Friesland Campina have released a video about milk. It has a very modern feel and shows cows quietly grazing under the stars as urban society rushes to and fro. The film again demonstrates the power of images of cows grazing grass. I know Friesland…

Free range in Scotland

Tomorrow I am heading north to Scotland to talk to farmers about Free Range Dairy. Despite the perceived challenges to grazing cows in the northern reaches of the UK, there has been quite a lot of interest in my initiative from ‘north of the border’. I have always maintained that a farmer who grazes his…

Eating responsibly

I have just had the unenviable task of putting down (shooting) a six month old calf on the farm. The animal in question has been suffering from a respiratory infection for a number of weeks and was obviously in great discomfort, despite our attempts to nurse it back to health. This is a task which…

European Antibiotics Awareness Day

Resistance to antibiotics is one of the greatest threats to modern health experts say. The Health Protection Agency warns that some bugs such as E Coli and Gonorrhoea have developed resistant strains, following the unnecessary use of antibiotics to tackle mild infections. This Sunday (November 18th) is European Antibiotics Awareness Day, which hopes to raise…

Pasture Promise online

You can now make the Pasture Promise online. Just follow the link on the home page or click here. All you need to do is provide your name, address and contact details. We are getting more farmers signing up every day and we are well on the way to establishing a network of like minded…

Put grass in your glass!

  I hear that Mary Berry, writer of cookery books and Great British Bake Off judge, has a new series on BBC2 called The Great British Food Revival and one episode is all about ice cream. Mary has labeled many ice creams as being almost 99 percent “synthetic junk”. Apparently it only has to contain…