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My Farming Week: David Riding, Lancashire

David Riding runs a dairy farm in Wrightington, Lancashire. Along with his wife Linda and son, James, he milks 170-Holstein cows in a herd which has belonged to the family since 1917.

Beginnings: Being a dairy farmer for 30 years, since the death of my father Fred, I have come to realise there is no such thing as a typical week in this trade.

 

Over the past 20 years we have been concerned that income from dairy farming was destined to become even more unpredictable. We condensed the herd reducing the number of cows from 300 to 170 and made off farm investments.

 

Milking: Monday morning. Out of bed at 4:40am to make sure we are on the farm for 5am. The cows were already waiting in the collecting yard, jostling for first position in the parlour.

 

Milking went smoothly and we were finished and washed up by about 9am, just in time for a farm assurance visit. Thankfully the visit went well. Just a few queries regarding paper work and we are good to go.

 

Registering: Home for breakfast, then the rest of the afternoon spent registering new calves and getting pedigrees up to date. The afternoon milking was done by our son, James.

 

On Tuesday morning, we start all over again. The local vet arrived at 9.30am to pregnancy diagnose the cows. Eight out of nine cows tested were positive, which was great news.

 

Paperwork: It was lunch time by the time we had finished - starving and freezing. The afternoon was spent trying to catch up on paperwork, paying bills and doing the VAT.

 

Disaster: Fast asleep at midnight, we were woken with a phone call telling us our daughters hairdressers salon was on fire. After a quick journey, we found five fire engines and an almost gutted property.

 

Chaos: The rest of the week was chaotic to say the least. Everyday farming duties including milking and calving, on top of making continual phone calls to loss adjusters, insurance providers, builders. The list is endless.

 

The property is without a roof and urgently needs to be covered as the relentless rain is causing even more damage.

 

Fell into bed exhausted on Sunday night. The paperwork remains on the kitchen table waiting to be finished.

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