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Young Farmer Focus: Alan Carter, Cornwall

Alan Carter, 26, farms with his parents and wife Sarah at Trengilly, Constantine, Falmouth. They milk 160 cows and keep about 400 cattle in total.

Calving: The autumn weather has finally seemed to settle and the milking cows are enjoying the warm sun on their backs.

 

We have been calving since the middle of July and are now calving cows which are in-calf to our Holstein bull, Oakroyal Galton.

 

These are the first calves from him and they are looking really good. He will be going with the bulling heifers from November 20.


This is a month later than we have previously started serving as we do not want calves born in the middle of July like this year. Also July can be the month grass can be short if we have a hot summer.

 

Fortunately, this does not happen too often. Our farm is very good at growing grass and the aim is to make the most of every bit of it.


Income: We also have a Hereford bull and his calves will be born from the end of November. We keep all of our calves due to our ongoing TB problems. But the store cattle have been a help to the business during the period of low milk prices.

 

Hopefully the milk prices will continue to increase to a more sustainable level, but this recent downturn will take quite a length of time to recover from.

 

During the past two years I feel very lucky our business has been able to rely on income streams from beef and our holiday lets, and not just from dairying.


Jerseys: The Cornish Jersey Club herd competition is coming up soon. I have been keeping Jerseys since I had the first one bought for me as a birthday present in 2000.


At the peak I had 20 milking Jerseys but during the past few years TB has taken a huge chunk out of my herd. At our last test we had 10 reactors, with four being Jerseys.

 

It is very hard to build a strong future for yourself when, every 60 days, your future gets ripped away from you.


Because of the amount of milking cows we have lost this year we have been buying replacements. The compensation does not allow us to buy like for like, so we have been buying commercial animals.


In July we bought 16 without any names. We aim to grade these cows up to pedigree status so they needed names. I got hold of the local primary school to see if the children would come up with some names.

 

They supplied me with a varied list, with one of my favourites being Hattie – Thunderhoof. I think it is so important to engage with the public, especially children. They are the generation that will be buying the food I produce.

 

YFC: I am now starting to practice for the Helston and St Keverne YFC after dinner speaking team. This will be my last year after a decade of competing in YFC competitions.

 

During the past 10 years I have learnt and achieved so much, including meeting my wife, Sarah. It will be very strange next year when I am too old to compete. I cannot say I am looking forward to it.

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