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Jon Stanley: 'We will milk for another four weeks and dry the whole herd off'

It has been very wet over the last month, with only a handful of dry days.

The outside farm coats and waterproof clothing have been well tested and had no time to dry out before being worn again.

 

It has been sad seeing large areas of northern England under flood water, especially my native homeland of South Yorkshire along the River Don.

 

The heartache, distress and destruction to homeowners and farmers is upsetting to see.

 

We did start to install and extend some cow tracks in late September as part of our Country Stewardship capital grant agreement, but these have been put on hold due to the wet weather and I have been successful in obtaining an extension to the deadline from the Rural Payments Agency.

 

Hopefully if it does dry up and come frosty they can be completed before next spring and turnout.

 

All livestock are fully housed, which is the earliest we have ever had to bring the cows in. The cows seem to be enjoying eating the maize and they are looking well.

 

In fact, all stock this year have looked well, unlike last year when everything struggled to some degree, including us.

 

We recently freeze-branded and mineral-bolused next year’s in-calf heifers and they look to be a nice, healthy group.

 

We need them more than ever next year to shore up the herd size due to losing so many cows to TB.


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We still have some good grass which could be grazed, but this will be grazed in mid-February if conditions allow.

 

After a number of attempts over a week or so, I managed to drill ryegrass into my maize stubble and the seed has germinated and established with great success.

 

All the autumn reseeds look promising. We were lucky to get everything we wanted drilled and, while it was a bit of a juggle to do it, it was worth the effort.

 

We are well set up for next year’s grazing season. The only field operation not carried out is hedge trimming which we try to have done by mid-November. Hopefully they can be cut when the ground dries up soon.

 

Looking around here and hearing from friends around the country it looks like autumn cereal drilling is very much behind and some have done none at all.

 

I ordered the dry cow tubes and sealants this week and we will only be milking for another four weeks before we dry the whole herd off.

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