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Farmers team up to control looming winter feed shortages

Community spirit has once again shone through the industry as arable farmers rallied around to lend a hand to livestock farmers on the brink of huge forage shortages.


Lauren   Dean

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Lauren   Dean
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Farmers team up to control looming winter feed shortages

Eight weeks of soaring temperatures and only tiny drops of rain has seen farmers already reaching well into winter feed stocks but as the heatwave looks to continue, opportunities are arising for livestock farmers to bale local arable land.

 

Colchester arable farmer Tom Bradshaw said a simple tweet brought him to a nearby farmer who was desperately short of straw to feed his cattle.

 

Interest was not scarce, however, with straw requests also from south Scotland and Devon.

 

“This guy from Northampton has 4,000-head of cattle but he cannot buy enough straw,” Mr Bradshaw said. “So he is going to come and bale our remaining 600-odd hectares and use it all.


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“What it has done is meant there is another 600-hectares which can now be baled instead of chopped.”

 

Speaking about what he called a ‘pretty tough year’, Mr Bradshaw also called on farmers to speak up and talk about their long-term worries.

 

“I think there is a lot of people who think things are very bad at the moment, but there is still an opportunity to do something over the next few weeks,” he said.

 

‘Bale where possible’

“What I am trying to say is do not suffer in silence, instead speak up and tell people what you need.”

 

It came on the back of livestock farmers pleading with their arable counterparts to bale straw following what they branded a ‘double whammy of a wet spring and drought’.

 

Rumenation nutritional consultant Hefin Richards said he wanted to encourage arable farmers to take advantage of the positive baling conditions – for the right price – and ‘bale where possible’.

He said: “It is one of those situations where once it is chopped there is no going back.

 

 

“They have had an exceptional season so far and it would be great if we could get that baled and in the system.

 

“Because the forage situation is dire. It is not about being charitable; it is about seeing that opportunity and working together for more of a win-win situation.”

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