More milk cuts mean more pain for dairy farmers

by Ruth Kimber.

AND another cut. In April the milk to the processor will be cut by a further 3.8 pence a litre, just like that! Again, no discussion, no chance to negotiate, just take it or leave it. The cost of some inputs has eased a little but not by the equivalent of over 7 pence a litre. And when you ask, most people have no idea what they pay for milk in the shops, they want it and pop it into their trolly!
We went and fetched our repaired zero grazer mower from Harbrook Engineering, near Nantwich – they had to rebuild it after a stone was picked up and trashed the internal workings. It was quite a load – we borrowed a trailer from a friend and when loaded it was a bit daunting as it overhung by a few inches either side. However, we arrived home without incident. Paul did most of the driving, but I took over the last couple of hours – it really helps you understand the skill and concentration needed by our lorry and freight drivers.

The next day Tom was out cutting grass to feed to the dairy cows. The following day we had a farm discussion group by invitation of the Agricultural and Horticulture Development Board, Wessex Water and Catchment Sensitive farming. To have a discussion/demonstration of preventative measures to elevate topsoil and nutrient loss after maize crops.
The demonisation was of our grass, that had been either under sown or direct drilled into the stubble last autumn. A trailer load of local farmers was taken to the fields to see for themselves our system and then back in the barn Richard Lane, our dairy consultant, ran through the benefits and costings of zero grassed grass.

One thing for sure, the cows are very happy munching fresh grass in their dry winter quarters, and to prove the point they are producing two litres of milk extra per cow. With our clay land surrounding the farmstead, it isn’t possible to graze this early, but some off-lying dry brashy fields provide the opportunity to grow maize and subsequently the cover crops of early grass.
More than 30 people attended and we finished with a buffet lunch prepared by Kitchen at Kimbers, using some of our home produce from the farm shop.
The sharing of knowledge is common in the farming community – helping each other out has always been expected and delivered.
We have put on the first dressing of FYM – farm yard manure – onto the fields and hope to make a saving on fertiliser costs, making use of the muck and adding not only potash and nitrogen but also the all-important organic matter.
The farm shop business has remained busy and with good, reliable and helpful staff, we are always preparing for the next season. Easter will see additional sales of our home and locally sourced lamb, home produced turkeys and a boost in all other meats.
I’m writing this diary while snow is lying on the fields just outside my window – oh lovely British weather!

Kimbers Farm Shop, The Kitchen at Kimbers, Somerset Trading Barn. Linley Farm, Charlton Musgrove BA9 8HD Phone: 01963 33177. Opening times Tuesday–Friday 8.30am-5pm, Saturday 9.30am-4pm.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *