You are here: News > Insights

You are viewing 1 of your 2 free articles

You’ll need to join us by becoming a member to gain more access.
Already a Member?

Login Join us now

William and Andrew Cowx: Farm labour difficult to justify, but consultant helps with business improvements


Our slurry tower is almost overflowing and like many more in the county the only slurry which has been spread this winter has been blown over the hedges.

Twitter Facebook

Andrew arranged for a contractor with an umbilical to come, but it is too wet to travel even with just a tractor. With lambing starting in just over three weeks we do not want the fields covered with slurry for the ewes and lambs when they go out. All the ewes are inside as it got too wet to feed them outside – big ewes soon paddle the ground up and feeding them sheep cobs on the ground was impossible. The snacker which we bought last year has not been used this year because of ground conditions.


The ewes look very happy inside and are easy to feed, but difficult to keep clean. We rescanned the ewe lambs which we thought were not in-lamb and half of them proved to be carrying lambs – we were just rather early with the first scanning.


Our man had an accident at the end of January and has not been back at work since and is not likely to be back at work before lambing. Thankfully Adrian, the youngest of the family is coming in the mornings to scrape out and bed up before going on to do his own work. It is difficult to get farm labour and so hard to justify the £20,000 or so wage bill when the profitability of these types of farms is so poor. The consultant we asked to look into our farm business is due to report this week where we are going wrong and has already highlighted a few of the things we should look at, so watch this space.

Good silage

Cattle are doing quite well – they have had some good silage to eat, I only hope it is going to last to spring. Hay is almost finished and with all ewes inside the back wall of the silage gets ever nearer. There are a few year-old calves to go to market before lambing and before the next batch of cows calve to make room as they are all in cubicles at present.


We had a couple of days in Edinburgh last week, it was good to get away from it all and relax – it may be the last time we are able to visit Scotland without having a passport. The debate about independence is hotting up and there are so many unanswered questions and doubts. I am certain we will all be stronger remaining as one country and talking with one voice – united we stand divided we fall.

Twitter Facebook
Rating (0 vote/s)
Post a Comment
To see comments and join in the conversation please log in.

More Insights

Stepping up milk from forage with improved management

Attention to detailed grazing and forage conservation management is helping the Mason family’s 10,300 litre organic herd in Herefordshire to take 40 per cent of total milk from forage. Farmers Guardian reports.

Making 5,000 dairy cows pay in South Africa's desert

A KEEN focus on data and analytics has enabled the Loubser family to maximise production from their 5,000-head dairy in the extreme conditions of South Africa’s Western Cape.

New mastitis threat going undiagnosed - we take a look at the symptoms and treatments

A new type of udder infection could be going widely undiagnosed on-farm and could be to blame for recurrent mastitis cases, as Aly Balsom finds out.

First generation farmer is creating Damn Delicious produce from grass

Michael Shannon uses a meticulous business approach to create his distinctive beef brand. Danusia Osiowy reports.

'I find sharing tups a useful way of getting into better breeding'

Believing the Texel breed is the UK’s number one commercial terminal sire, Ben Vernon has his sights set high both for his flock and the breed. In the second of a series celebrating young breeders, Jonathan Long visits Derbyshire to find out more.
FG Insight and FGInsight.com are trademarks of Briefing Media Ltd.
Farmers Guardian and FarmersGuardian.com are trademarks of Farmers Guardian Ltd, a subsidiary of Briefing Media Ltd.
All material published on FGInsight.com and FarmersGuardian.com is copyrighted © 2016 by Briefing Media Limited. All rights reserved.
RSS news feeds