Forage: This week has seen us take our third cut of grass, which we bale and use for buffer feed in summer.
It was baled in good condition and yielded well, with 11 bales per hectare (4.5 bales/acre). Weather-wise, this year we have been fortunate with no extremes, allowing us to conserve the most forage for years.
Milking: Cows are milking well at present, giving about 31 litres/day. They are buffer fed and have free access to grazing, day and night. Now the nights are drawing in and we are back to starting work in the dark, our thoughts turn to the winter housing period and making sure buildings are ready for their residents and the slurry store is empty.
Bottling: Early July saw us install a machine which will fill, lid and label plastic cartons. We still sell a large proportion of our milk in glass bottles, but growth is in plastic cartons at the moment.
Our customers range from corner shops to nurseries, nursing homes and hotels, but a large share is still doorstep delivered in glass bottles.
Four mornings of my week are taken up with processing and packing milk.
Our family has been selling milk direct since 1959 and I am the third generation to do so, although my grandparents still take an active interest.
Calving: We calve all year round to keep a level supply, although last week we had eight calve in two days, with six of those being heifer calves. We are lucky enough to have a few newly-calved heifers surplus which were sold off farm this week.
We rear all our own youngstock and have been a closed herd since 1986.
Working time: My time is split between the dairy and farm, which I find great as it gives variety and a sense of perspective. Having worked away from home for four years I think this is great for broadening my horizons and gives me plenty of ideas during the kitchen cabinet which meets at the breakfast table most mornings.
We have been out with the topper this week to clean up a few pastures with the hope stock will be out for a while longer yet.
Young Farmers: This Monday was our Young Farmers AGM, where I was made treasurer in what is the club’s 80th year.