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Jon Stanley: 'Milk solids have risen nicely as they often do at this time of year'

September has arrived and it was like a switch was flicked and autumn started overnight. The leaves and hedgerows are ablaze with russet colours and it does seem earlier than last year.

The cold mornings have caught me out a few times and I have had to come back in the house to put on an extra layer.

 

With the children back at school, we have been busy these last few weeks and the slurry lagoon has been totally emptied, which is always a big relief and a great job done before winter.

 

The reseeds are still a work in progress and trying to fit in the fieldwork is sometimes a challenge. I still have a few fields to drill but the weather has been kind and our light stonefree soil works down easily.

 

We are probably reseeding more than we would in a normal year, but I am still trying to rectify the damage caused by last year’s drought. The only issue with doing this is it makes the grazing tighter going into winter.


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We are already buffer feeding the cows and we opened the silage clamp this week after feeding first cut bales the last few weeks.

 

I got the silage analysed a few weeks ago and am delighted with its analysis; it is one of the best crops we have ever produced. Fingers crossed it holds the milk production going into autumn.

 

The cows are milking well and seem content. Milk solids have risen nicely as they often do at this time of year to give a healthy milk price, but we have produced fewer litres per head as we move towards the last 100 days of lactation before we dry the herd off just before Christmas.

 

We are pregnancy testing the herd and heifers in the coming week, so here’s hoping they all held in calf. I have heard mixed reports this year, but I have not seen much bulling activity in our herd.

 

Our next job will be the maize. It is getting close to being fit for harvesting and it looks as if we will have a bumper crop. I have not seen any maize harvested locally just yet, but it will not be long.

 

During the last week of the school holidays we had a fleeting visit back to Yorkshire where a delayed and hampered harvest was evident to see. Our children could not believe the thousands of bales we saw in fields still to be collected as we drove from Doncaster across the Yorkshire Wolds to Filey.

 

Having not spent much time back at home since I left for college and then moved to Dorset, I was surprised to see the vast number of wind turbines which have sprung up and can be seen everywhere.

 

When I was a child it was the power station cooling towers which were used as landmarks as we drove to the coast, but they look to have been replaced by the wind turbines on the skyline.

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