Time to dance

The wet weather we had last summer, combined with the prolonged winter we have yet to escape, means that grass growth has been slow and the ‘green stuff’ isn’t as green as we would like it to be. We woke up to a white frost on Tuesday morning and didn’t feel much like spring. However,…

Reading the future

Here is an extract from a book I have just bought from Amazon. “Since the 1870’s British farmers have had neither stability nor security. Politicians’ promises have been made and forgotten, war-time prosperity has been followed by slump or uncertainty”. “The fundamental reason is not hard to find, the public, quite naturally, prefer to buy…

Digging for milk

In my quest to produce more milk form grass I am going to really try and understand more about the grass we grow and the soils that feed it. So, today, I ventured out with my spade for a bit of an exploratory dig. Now, I’m no soil scientist, but I do know that looking…

Cow dance

Word is some folks have turned their cows out to grass already and, hopefully, it won’t be long before a lot more follow on farms around the country. Can you remember how it feels – the warmth of the sun, the smell of the earth, the sound of grass been tugged by hungry mouths? All…

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…