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In Your Field: Jon Stanley - 'British farming standards have a lot to be proud about'

The weather again seems to be playing around this year and it has been very cold and dry in Dorset.

Grass growth has been a bit of a rollercoaster this spring, with a few days of booming growth, followed by a few days of no growth at all.

 

It has made grazing management hard, as we have had plenty of grass one minute, followed by a panic of where cows are going to go next.

 

The regrowth after grazing has been very slow for the time of year. We had shut up some fields on the grazing platform for silage, but we have had to graze all of them bar one. When it does warm up, grass will motor away and will, hopefully, balance out.

 

Most of the away silage ground does seem to be coming on nicely, but the odd field seems to have been affected by the drought last year and is below par and weedy. For this reason, and the need to ensure forage stocks for next winter, we have decided to grow maize on six hectares (15 acres).

 

We are hoping to get a cut of silage off the two fields before they are quickly ploughed and drilled. We started breeding cows this last week, just after finishing calving.


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Already we are thinking about calving 2020 as the cycle continues.

 

Overall, calving was very good this year and we seemed to have had a fantastic run of heifer calves for which we are grateful.

 

Calf rearing was also fairly straightforward and we have weaned the eldest calves, which seem to be growing well grazing outside. We will AI cows to dairy sires for six weeks, then two weeks to beef sires, and we will then run the two Hereford stock bulls with the herd.

 

It was very disheartening to see more farmer bashing this last week on social media, this time from regional water utilities encouraging people to have a meat-free Monday to reduce water consumption.

 

I can see why they would encourage people to conserve water, but figures and so-called facts they quoted seem to be farcical.

 

It seems farming is under constant attack at the moment, which is such a shame, as British farming standards have a lot to be proud about.

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