My Farming Week: Rhydian Bevan, Pembrokeshire

livestockfarm lifedairyMy farming week+-

Spring: With daffodils out and the sun shining, spring is here.

At home we are eager to get slurry pits emptied, fertiliser on the fields and, most importantly, to get cattle on grass, with wet soils currently hampering our progress.

YFC: The week started with the body still in recovery mode from an excellent weekend in Wrexham where our club Llys-y-Fran, was competing in the English and Welsh drama competitions.

We came third in both performances, and our own little superstar Angharad Edwards won best actress for the second year running.

Cows: Being mainly autumn calving, this time of year is generally pretty quiet with the odd cow calving and a flurry of cows due in late March/early April.

The aim is to tighten the autumn block between July to November to take full advantage of being able to control the diet much easier, where in the last two years we have seen improvements in milk yield, health and fertility.

As a result of a consistent diet and our Genus RMS technician going the extra mile to get cows in-calf quicker, our herd now takes 22 days less to conception.

A batch of 50 heifers was scanned last week and they are all due between July and August to a Holstein Friesian stock bull. A remaining 30 heifers were served later on and are just waiting to be scanned.

Milk price: Being a member of First Milk, the last two years have been difficult but I feel a corner has been turned under the new leadership which, so far, is putting the company in the right direction.

As we supply the creamery in Haverfordwest, a large proportion of cheese which is produced in our factory is distributed across the UK under the range of Tesco’s Finest label. As a result, we have been receiving a supplement for the last six months – a lifeline for us farmers dealing with a major downturn in dairying.

On Wednesday, a few members visited our local Tesco’s store to say thank you.

Retailers always get criticism, but we must give credit where it is due.

I hope they will continue to provide this support beyond April, when it is due to end, to ensure they can offer top quality cheese to their consumers for years to come.

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