December is always an interesting time in the dairy as the afternoon shadows lengthened and we edged towards Christmas. Our cows settled into their dry period on the fodder beet and the parlour was silent.
Our housed group of heifers surpassed all growth expectations with the introduction of maize silage into their ration and are steadily heading towards their ideal mating weight. The older heifers on the fodder beet are progressing well with a few visible udders starting to develop.
We may not be milking cows in December, however this does not mean that our work is done. The plant has been shut down and our team of engineers are preparing it for another 12 months of hard work extracting over 7 million litres of milk from our cows.
Work on our new calf nursery is progressing well and we aim to have it completed by the middle of January. Scott and Tom Broadhead have embraced the challenge and the change at Haston farm is clearly visible as you drive through the gate.
Our new appointments – Matt, who is the epitome of a UK farmer, and Shelly, who has exchanged the sunny climes of South Africa for the chilly Shropshire winters, have both settled into their roles and become valuable team members.
As we look back over the last 12 months and see all the changes we have made it is a heartening experience to listen to the positive comments from the dairy team. They are truly a hard-working, enthusiastic, young and energetic group of individuals who all share a love of farming and a passion for cows. We really have managed to assemble the cream of the crop and 2018 looks like being our best year yet.
The coming calving season however, starts with weeks of planning long before the first calf has dropped and while most will be wondering how they will ever fit into those favourite trousers again after yet another slice of Christmas cake, the dairy team are starting the countdown to the busiest and most important time of the year….calving 1,600 cows.