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Phil Latham: Maize in, silage about to start and an impending new arrival...


I think a lot of life comes down to luck and we were very lucky indeed with the weather at Easter.

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The horse trials were a great success and I have to thank the team for all their efforts as we have had great feedback from the riders and we attracted a bigger crowd than ever before.


Since then we managed to rush to get the maize seed in just before the rain started; there is now so much standing water we closed our farm ride and cross country schooling area. I have a feeling things are about to change, the sun’s out and the birds are singing and I have just booked my contractor in to do my first cut silage.


I do enjoy this time of year – there is so much going on, but there is no doubt cloudy skies will increase the tension, and rain later in the week will make me grumpy. If the weather gods are kind silage will be over before our baby is born; if they are not, I will have to multi task which, as most women know, is hard for us men at the best of times, never mind combining extra dad duties with silage and haylage pressures. At least I do not have to worry about losing my hair.


So much of what we do is about adapting to things beyond our control. You could say this about TB, but then again you meet farmers like David Barton who has tried to express what the impacts of a breakdown are at farm level in his new blog and video. What a fantastic example he is to others who just hope someone else will sort it out.


The post this week brought the unwelcome news about a 1.5p milk price drop. That is bad news and there is no negotiation. The spring flush and competitive pressure between the discount supermarkets and the big ones fighting for footfall in store translates into downward price pressure and I do not yet see a mechanism within the industry to address the imbalance, despite the voluntary code being in place.


Our contract is not code compliant and my buyer points to the fact the code does not include milk sold by co-ops. While co-ops enjoy this freedom, I think many smaller buyers will remain resistant to binding themselves to terms which may disadvantage them and in so doing we are all disadvantaged.


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