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Phil Latham: 'I think the world may have gone quite mad'

Phil farms 385ha (950 acres) in Cheshire, split between the family farm on Lord Cholmondeley’s estate and Organsdale Farm near Tarporley. He milks 300 cows, mainly pedigree Brown Swiss, as well as diversifying into business units and an equestrian facility. He is also a Nuffield Scholar. Twitter: @PhilLatham

The weather has continued to be marvellous and we have had excellent grass growth, allowing us to fill the void in bulk silage stocks which was looming had the spring been a wet one.

 

We are now looking at an early harvest for first cut silage to keep the flow of grass coming and adapting our fertiliser applications to suit this objective and benefit from nutrients applied where we have applied slurry.

 

My main activity is event preparation and it is the time of year again for painting fences and mowing grass, knocking in fence anchors, erecting thousands of posts and setting out miles of string.

 

At least our grass silage stock situation should be eased next winter, as we have been zero-grazing our horse trials fields this year and carting grass over to feed our high yielders.

 

Entries have been at a record this year, with nearly 1,000 horses and riders looking to compete at our British Eventing affiliated horse trials on April 21-23.

 

We have some high profile riders entered into the advanced intermediate class competing for a £1,000 prize cheque, which I hope will attract spectators as riders demonstrate their horsemanship with dressage, control with show jumping and courage as they tackle the cross country course, designed by Mark Phillips.

 

Life at Organsdale is never dull. In the last week we have had one member of staff decide to hand his notice in, there has been a flasher on site, a one-man protest outside the gates aimed at irritating a tenant and poachers running around in the dark hare coursing.

 

Add to this being pulled up just short of the farm gateway by the police for driving without pulling over in the two miles I was followed and being falsely named on social media as a ringleader of a group of people bashing hunt saboteurs, I think the world may have gone quite mad.

 

The highlight recently was attending a TB symposium hosted by Brain May. The most outstanding scientific fact came from badger ecologist Rosie Woodroffe, stating the badger contribution to TB in the endemic area was 50 per cent, a fact seemingly lost on the mainstream badger friendly press present.

 

The least scientific was Prof John Bourne, confirming a broad cull of badgers was ruled out at the outset of the randomised badger cull trial as a possible conclusion.

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