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Will Case: 'For all our sakes, I hope we do not experience a winter like the last one'

livestockWeather

Wonderfully sunny, dry and frosty weather has been a pleasant way to end November. The middle of the month gave us quite a rough time with more than 150mm of rain falling in two weeks, but we managed to escape the worst of storm Angus.

 

There were floods on the news after the storm hit, bringing back memories from last year. For all our sakes, I hope we do not see a winter like the last one.

 

December 1 is quite a milestone for us as we have now been producing milk for a year. Our decision to go into dairy caused a few eyebrows to raise but, 12 months on, things are going well.

 

Cows are performing well on the simple system and the calves are fitting into our beef enterprise nicely. There have been many lessons to learn and some changes to go through.

 

We have a new appreciation of the Holstein cow and her dairy traits, which requires a real change of mentality as a beef producer. We have also adjusted to our new routines and are confident the decision has been a good one for the whole family, making the business stronger for the future.

 

A less significant milestone has seen our hen house clean-down completed and the empty shed has been restocked. My three-year-old son Rory was with us as we unloaded the new pullets and was proudly carrying a bird under each arm.

 

The new girls look good so far and are at target weight at 17 weeks. We will now feed and monitor them and the aim is for them to be producing eggs by Christmas.

 

The tups have pretty much done their work for another year, apart from the odd repeat. We are picking most of them up now as we give ewes their next dose for liver fluke.

 

I like to think they are sharing mucky tales as they are reunited with their sparring partners. Ewes are in good condition, with the late season grass growth in October setting them up nicely for the months ahead.

 

We welcomed John Woodcock, our local MP, to Robbs Water this month to sign the NFU Brexit pledge. As with many in Parliament, his knowledge of agriculture was limited but he was keen to learn and we did our best to educate him.

 

How we shape our farming industry after we leave the EU is an enormous challenge, but the fact it is in our own hands to influence the rules in which we farm is quite an empowering thought.

Farmers Guardian
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