Well, what a month that was! January was not only cold but exceptionally wet…a continuation of December’s rainfall which made it tricky out and about.
Thankfully, with many of the cows in the sheds for calving, we were still able to get a lot of maintenance completed as well as get our guys out onto training courses and away to conferences. Three of the team went off to Ireland for the Positive Farmers’ Conference which has a real focus on grass-based dairy farming.
Calving started early this year with our first calf born in the middle of January but our meticulous planning ensured all went smoothly. There have been, and will be, a lot more since – probably 50 or 60 a day for the next four weeks!
A lot of work went into ensuring the pens were ready and strawed up, and then we sorted the cows into ones which were going to calve early and those who would be a couple of weeks behind.
As you can see from this photo, teamwork is vital and a real strength of ours. There is a lot of clear and concise briefing and it helps that one or two of us are ex-military!
But that first calf is a really lovely moment. It’s a green light for the weeks ahead and because we’ve planned so carefully it’s nice to actually put everything into practice and crank up into full operational mode.
While the dairy team are on watch day and night, other members of the team will be preparing our cropping, fertiliser and health plans for the year. We’ve had some cuts to the milk price at the start of 2018 so it’s even more important to make sure we have a clear path ahead.