Shorthorns The Sensible Sustainable Choice
The traits of the Dairy Shorthorn allow the breed to play an important role in efficient and sustainable milk production. Their good constitution gives them a will to live and graze happily even in inclement weather conditions. Many people notice the difference that the breed gives to their own quality of life. One UK farmer admits that if he had not changed breeds to the Shorthorn he would no longer be milking cows. At the moment there is tremendous pressure on the Dairy industry but this can work in favour of the Shorthorn. To get a profitable margin, producers can no longer ignore the costs and expect production to out weigh the out goings. After all production is vanity profit is sanity. In the last year the number of dairy producers dropped by 5% in the UK however membership and registrations in the UK Dairy Shorthorns are seeing a rise. The breed is having a resurgence with good reason.
Mobility is most important in grazing systems but poor feet can soon lead to an animals demise in any system. Herd size has grown significantly over the years in the UK and the average herd is 150 head and they are having to walk further to pasture. The feet on the Dairy Shorthorn are much harder and need less attention than most other breeds who often have extra costs of routine foot trimming. A lame cow will quickly loose condition, production and may also affect fertility when signs of heat are not detected.
Easy calving is another important trait. Not many Dairy Shorthorn breeders stop up through the night to regularly check that their cows calve without difficulties. This in turns leads to far less problems postpartum, lowering vet bills for metritis that causes decreased energy levels and can cause a detrimental effect on fertility. This rarely occurs within the Shorthorn breed as they excel in fertility. Fertility is very important especially for any block calving herds which makes the breed an excellent choice for such a system. Longevity is yet another fantastic trait of the breed. Cows will complete on average eight plus lactations in a lifetime. When you come to the production per lactation per life the shorthorn breed has by far the best figures. This certainly proves that the breed still has a vital role to play in the global industry.
Many farmers in the UK are now switching to low cost extensive systems to survive the current financial climate, these systems involve cutting costs to a minimum by block calving in spring and producing all the milk from grazed grass. This type system hinges on a good calving interval, cows calving outside the desired window have to be sold, therefore increasing replacement rate and costs but the Dairy Shorthorn breed has one of the best calving index of all the dairy breeds within the UK.
Organic milk and cheese production are diversifications that the Dairy Shorthorn is well equipped for. With the restriction on antibiotic use under the Organic rules and regulations the farmer needs a good healthy cow like the Dairy Shorthorn. The costing from one UK Organic Dairy Shorthorn farmer shows that his vet and medicine bill is 85% lower than the average conventional herd. The breed also has one of the lowest somatic cell counts in the UK of the main dairy breeds.
Quality and service at the heart of Newport fertiliser facility
Since 2015, Newport Dock has been home to the Mole Valley Farmers’ fertiliser production facility.
During the last six years, we have worked hard to improve efficiencies and increase the production and distribution of our quality NPK+S fertilisers. Before our move to Newport, we had been manufacturing our products in Teignmouth, Devon. Due to increasing sales and the tidal limitations that the port on the South Coast presented, we made the move to our new home in South Wales.
We now reap the benefits of unrestricted raw material vessels via the deepwater port, 365 days of the year and a 10-fold increase in production and raw material storage capacity.
From a geographic perspective, distributing fertiliser from Newport allows us to offer an improved logistics service and to a wider catchment area.
The past 12 months have been difficult for all businesses given Covid-19, however, the necessary safety measures were taken and not a single day’s production was lost. This has been essential for us to continue to try and exceed the expectations of our Members.
Quality is at the heart of everything we do. During manufacturing, all of our raw materials are weighed to ensure that each fertiliser has the correct amount of each ‘ingredient’ for the desired grades. Our fertilisers are also screened to take out any material that is either too large or small. We also pay particular attention during the procurement of each raw material to ensure the fertilisers are ‘size-matched’ to allow for better spreadability.
The Newport fertiliser facility – annual figures
- 4,255 trucks loaded and distributed to farms across the UK
- 193,126 bags of fertiliser produced
- 17 raw material vessels received over the quay
- 16,000 tons – the biggest shipment discharged over the quay from one vessel
- 1,976 is the record number of bags that were produced in a single day
- 13 countries supply us with fertiliser from around the world
- 1,439 artic loads of raw materials received by road
Did you know?
Mole Valley Forage Services supply a range of fertiliser options to suit every requirement. Whether it’s CF compounds, NPK+S blends, N+S blends and compounds, protected urea, urea and urea + sulphur or a range of straights, we have something to suit your needs.
For fertiliser prices and availability, please call the Fertiliser Team on 01769 576405.
Spring grass growth – don’t let it dwindle
Philip Cosgrave, Country Grassland Agronomist, Yara UK
One of the most important factors affecting spring grass growth on English farms is the timing and quantity of the first spring nitrogen (N) fertiliser application. The high value associated with spring grass availability on livestock farms means that however modest any increase in grass growth might be, it is worth it when livestock can be let out to grass.
Silage crops too require improved spring N management to optimise 1st cut yields and quality, particularly on multi-cut systems. We need to fine tune these spring N applications, so they are economical and potential losses to water are kept minimal.
Spring N for Grazing
There’s always an element of debate around the right approach to spring N management. As a rule of thumb, the timing of the first N application should coincide with soil temperatures reaching 5 – 6oC and only when favourable weather and field conditions allow. Farmer experience and common sense, should always prevail in the final decision.
We recommend on good perennial ryegrass swards, 20 – 23 units N/acre of YaraBela Nutri Booster for this first application. For the second we should aim to deliver 40 – 45 units, to coincide with improving growing conditions in April.
Spring N & S for Silage
Timely nitrogen and sulphur applications for 1st cut silage are important, especially for those planning to cut early. Anything we can do to boost grass growth in early spring results in more growing days and greater leaf area, ready to take advantage of longer days and improving growing conditions in April.
For 1st cut silage we should aim for a total N rate of 100 units/acre. The available N in spring slurry applications must be accounted for when calculating your 1st cut fertiliser N requirement. We can use the following simple example to calculate the fertiliser N rate for a 1st cut with slurry.
3,000 gallons of 6% DM cattle slurry applied by trailing shoe, contributes 27 units of available N (24 units if by splashplate). This leaves a fertiliser N requirement of 73 units/acre. We would plan to have this fertiliser N applied 6 weeks before the preferred harvest date. Again, YaraBela Nutri Booster would fit well in this instance with the added benefit of increased silage selenium content.
Get organised this spring. Calculate your fertiliser requirement and have it ordered and delivered in good time. It’s better to have what you need sitting in your yard rather than someone else’s!
For more grassland advice visit www.yara.co.uk
Premium Sheep and Goat Health Schemes – helping you to stay one step ahead of Maedi Visna (MV) and Johne’s Disease
SRUC’s newly launched Monitoring Schemes provide an opportunity for more sheep owners with commercial flocks to cost effectively screen for Maedi Visna (MV) and Johne’s Disease. Regular monitoring not only provides an early warning to limit disease spread, it also attracts potential purchasers who want to avoid buying in disease.
The monitoring schemes tackle two endemic ‘iceberg’ diseases: maedi visna (MV) and Johne’s disease. The term ‘iceberg’ is applied to diseases when only a small proportion of a flock might be showing symptoms, but in fact a much larger proportion will be infected; similar the way in which only a small fraction of an iceberg is visible above the water. For this reason, iceberg diseases are impossible to control without testing and can be devastating to a farm in terms of their financial impacts.
Monitoring will be of value to all flock owners wishing to minimise the impact of disease in their flocks, especially commercial sheep farmers with large flocks for whom the more stringent biosecurity requirements of the accreditation scheme may be a barrier to joining.
While PSGHS Accreditation is the gold standard, the monitoring schemes provide a level of assurance for buyers looking to reduce disease risk, making them particularly useful for producers of female breeding stock who want to provide reassurance to buyers.
Members of the monitoring scheme test three groups of animals:
- High risk animals – 12 per year for flocks below 500 animals or 20 per year for flocks over 500 animals
- All rams on the holding
- A proportion of added animals that are not from a monitored or accredited flock
Samples are taken by the veterinary surgeon and undertaken at least six weeks before animals are due to be sold. The ‘high risk’ animals for testing are to be selected by the vet, consisting of those that are thinner, have raised poor lambs or had a poor milk yield with no other apparent reason (such as lameness or dental disease). The farm’s vet will also need to carry out an annual appraisal of the biosecurity measures that are in place. In instances where disease is found, members can take a proactive approach to manage the disease with the help of their vet.
Membership of the monitoring scheme is just £40 per year, for one or both diseases plus discounted testing rates for each disease.
An exciting new brand, named after the Roman goddess of agriculture, Ceres, symbolising nourishment, food and prosperity, is now available in your area. After years of experience designing and building farm machinery for other distributors, or for online sales, the Ceres team has unveiled its own branded range, which includes materials handling equipment, comprising the Barn-Stormer Grain Pusher, a grain bucket, telehandler buckets, digger buckets, headstocks/converters, muck grabs, bale spikes and telehandler machine movers – as well as a big bag lifter.
New cultivation equipment includes grass harrows, subsoilers, aerators and the UniMole Mole Drainer, while the maintenance range includes a pipelayer, graders, ballast roll, and a post-knocker and log splitter.
Commenting on the new range, company founder Martin Johnson says: “We feel that now is the right time to start releasing an ever-expanding, dependable range of products that have been in development for a number of years. All our machinery is designed and fabricated at our two manufacturing facilities in the United Kingdom. Some of our machinery has been tried and tested through well-known, reputable brands to ensure quality and reliability, so we can produce implements built to the highest standard which our customers can trust.”
While Ceres may be the youngest agricultural brand on the market, its brand manager has over 25 years of experience in the development and application of agricultural machinery in some of the world’s harshest environments.
Ceres is now offering great opportunities for you to own their products, as well as looking to expand its dealer network into the North West. Please contact the Ceres Sales Team for further information on stocking possibilities and finance terms.
Farm Management Information
Understanding your farm profitability and cash requirements is becoming increasingly important for agricultural businesses. As recent events show, uncertainty is a key risk for business, with many farming clients looking into expanding their existing business or looking into new ventures to bring in extra income and enable the business to grow.
Price volatility, weather and disease risk are all risks that farming businesses have no control over and with the day to day running of the farm taking up time, it is easy for cash flow management and budgeting to take a back seat. In order to improve efficiency and profitability, management information should be used to support future business decisions.
Budgeting and monitoring cash flow gives you the opportunity to manage and control an element of the business, and ensure all enterprises are contributing to the gross profit of the business and generating positive cash flows. If there are enterprises that are not profitable or generating cash, then it is time to revaluate and decide whether these should continue.
Historically many farming businesses produce year end accounts in order to comply with income tax requirements, these are sometimes prepared 6-12 months after the year end, with a meeting to discuss what happened almost 12 months ago.
It is time for this to change.
Making VAT digital has now been fully implemented, with Making Tax Digital being the next phase to be introduced. This could see farming businesses required to submit quarterly returns to HMRC, with accounts being made up throughout the year, rather than just at the year end. This gives the opportunity for businesses to monitor profitability and cash flow continuously.
Where to start
If cash flows and budgeting have not been prepared before, then this may seem a daunting undertaking, but with information now at your fingertips, getting started should not be too much of an onerous task. The majority of farming businesses will either be using a cloud based software or an agricultural accounting package- all of which can assist with budgeting and cash flow management using the information used for VAT return preparation and year end accounts to form the basis of forecasts.
New projects also require detailed planning, with cash flow budgets enabling you to identify key performance indicators such as payback period and full economic cost of production.
LHP will be able to assist you with all aspects of budgeting and cash flow forecasts, so please do not hesitate to contact us to get started.
Creating your perfect steel frame building
Graham Heath Construction is one of the UK’s leading suppliers of steel framed buildings for the agricultural, industrial and equestrian industries and since its opening in 2003, has grown significantly.
The team can design, supply and fit a steel framed building for a customer as an off the shelf design or a fully bespoke build and will beat any genuine like for like quotation (T&C’s apply). Due to company expansion, they can now guarantee delivery in 6-8 weeks from the date of order confirmation.
Graham Heath Construction is proud to supply British farmers with its CE marked steel framed buildings. This UK manufacturer produces all materials on site in South Cheshire and has a trusted fleet of drivers available for nationwide delivery.
Concrete panels are a key feature in a Graham Heath Construction building. They are easy to clean, hygienic and exceptionally durable. Concrete panels, manufactured on site and supplied by sister company Concrete Panels System, are also quick and easy to install, simply slotting in between steel supports.
Benefitting from a strong farming heritage, Graham Heath Construction understand the agricultural industry inside out and always strive to provide its customers with the highest quality, value for money solution. From grain stores and livestock sheds to workshops and straw stores, they currently have several promotional offers running on a range of buildings which can be found in this week’s Graham Heath Construction advert.
For more information, go to www.gh-construction.co.uk or call: 01270 781158
Established in Cambridgeshire in 1975 David Harrison Handling Solutions Limited have possibly the largest and most extensive stock of used and refurbished potato and vegetable handling equipment in the UK
For over 40 years they have built up an outstanding reputation for meeting their customers requirements, not just in Agriculture but also in Waste Management, Recycling Schemes, and in the Port and Industrial sectors
As UK Agents for Pro-Pak of Holland, David Harrison’s can supply their “Weighmaster” multi-head weigher, with an option for 10 or 12 weighing scales, they are suitable for weighing onions, potatoes and carrots quickly and accurately
David Harrison can offer two types of Palletiser for stacking bagged produce onto pallets. From the entry-level machine made by Oldenhuis & Prinsen through to the Symach automatic palletiser handling bags from 5kg to 50kg with ease
In 2013 they were appointed exclusive distributors of bagging handling equipment manufactured by the Sack Filling Company of Braintree, Essex
From elevators and conveyors, graders and inspection tables, hoppers and box handlers, David Harrison has a wide range of used and re-built vegetable handling equipment available from their site, near Ely, in the heart of the Cambridgeshire Fens.
Industrial and Dockside
In addition to their agricultural business the company has, over the last twenty years, become a major manufacturer and supplier of industrial machinery. They design and build bespoke equipment specifically designed to meet their customer’s requirements
From small static conveyors and large 30m mobile ship-loaders to complete turn-key big bag fertiliser plants.
Waste Processing and Recycling
Harrison’s also build handling solutions for waste processing and recycling. With their in-house design and manufacture of most stages of bio-solid composting, mixing, screening, and bagging incorporating their systems into a customer’s existing operation.
Agriculture is typically defined as the science or business of cultivating the soil, growing crops and rearing livestock. Farming is the skill of practising agriculture.
Farming and Agriculture – Behind the Scenes
Agriculture is typically defined as the science or business of cultivating the soil, growing crops and rearing livestock. Farming is the skill of practising agriculture. Many of us living in towns or larger villages across the UK often forget the agricultural side of Britain that is so important to us. The purpose of agriculture is to provide planned food utilisation for its dependant societies and although growing crops and rearing livestock are fundamental to this, it is the storage of produce that makes this possible.
With the coming of the Industrial Revolution and the development of more complicated machines, farming methods took a great leap forward. Instead of harvesting grain by hand with a sharp blade, wheeled machines cut a continuous swath. Instead of threshing the grain by beating it with sticks, threshing machines separated the seeds from the heads and stalks. Driven by these changes in agrochemicals, mechanisation and government support, production rose and we now rely on these machines to produce our countries ever increasing food demands. With such reliance on these machines numerous companies have popped up across the country offering sales in all types of machinery from Tractors to Quad Bikes both new and old with models to suit any budget. There are of course mechanics with the skills and abilities to get these machines up and running again quicker than ever before to ensure that the impact of their breakdowns have as little effect on production as possible.
Currently there is a lot of investment going in to buildings as production increases and new storage spaces are needed. These include Cattle Sheds, Implements Store, Hay Barns including Big Bale stores, General Purpose Building, Sheep sheds, Garages, Grain Stores, Equestrian Buildings and Pig Buildings. Onsite Farm Shops have become very popular because in recent times more and more farmers have opened their doors or set up stalls to offer fresh, local products direct to customers. Discover here the fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry, eggs, cakes, preserves, and local specialities available from hundreds of farm shops, Pick-Your-Own farms, stalls at farmers’ markets, and deliveries direct to your home. What does this mean for you? It means you get the very freshest produce sold directly to you on the farm or by the producers themselves: ‘farm-direct sales’ means just that! This helps the producers by providing an income that’s not tied to the profits or whims of the supermarkets; it reinvests the money that you spend back into your local economy and the rural economy at large. It provides you with more choice and an alternative to the supermarkets, and let’s not forget the freshest, tastiest food money can buy.
So next time you’re driving through the countryside and you see a tractor harvesting the fields or a stall selling fresh foods on the markets have a think about the long hours and days that those working in our vast countryside are doing for us behind the scenes!
Leptospirosis (Weil’s Disease) Do you Know the Risk?
Leptospirosis is a type of bacterial infection spread by animals. It is caused by a strain of bacteria called Leptospira. In 90% of cases, leptospirosis only causes mild flu-like symptoms, such as headache, chills and muscle pain. However, in some cases the infection is more severe and can cause life-threatening problems, including organ failure and internal bleeding leading to death. In its most severe form, leptospirosis is also known as Weil’s disease. The common mild symptoms mean that most leptospirosis infections are hard to diagnose. Diagnosis is easier if the infection is causing more serious problems.
Most may be aware of Leptospirosis or Weil’s disease but may not know the actual risk to their health. A greater awareness of the disease was recognised when Sir Steve Redgrave’s rowing partner and close friend Andy Holmes contracted the disease and unfortunately died from the infection in 2010. The 51 year-old developed blisters and broken skin on his hands during a 26-mile sculling marathon in Boston, Lincs, Southwark coroners’, Leptospira infected water quickly entered his system through the open wounds and he contracted the infection.
This story shows just how easy it is to contract an infection. People who enjoy outdoor activities such as kayaking, rafting, canoeing, swimming or even golfing may be at risk for leptospirosis. If you work closely with Livestock or even have a pet dog the risk of infection is increased as the infection is spread via the contaminated urine of animals. Leptospirosis exists all over the world, but it is more likely to be found in tropical climates so if you have recently been on holiday and exhibit flu like symptoms mentioned above you should consider it a possibility. Golfers are at risk from contracting Leptospirosis if balls land in stagnant water where leptospira bacteria is likely to grow and multiply or animals such as rats which are the most common host for transferable infection have urinated and infected water or grass areas.
At Linnodee we can provide a rapid testing service for Leptospirosis infection using our in-house developed Leptorapide Rapid Latex Agglutination Test. We can quickly and easily diagnose Leptospira infections. As mentioned above leptospirosis can be easily treated when diagnosis is performed at the early stages of infection this is why the Linnodee Leptorapide product is so beneficial, it provides a confirmed result within 3 minutes to allow accurate and quick diagnosis enabling treatment to commence as early as possible. Please contact us if you would like further information on this testing service and our products.
Linnodee Ltd. , 45 Holestone Road, Doagh, N. Ireland, BT39 0TJ. Tel: +44 (0)28 933 49329
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“Working with livestock farmers since 1968”
“Our goal is to recommend diets, based on analysis of your feeds and forages, to achieve your production goals, while promoting
excellent feed efficiency, animal health and fertility”.
The dry cow in the most important animal on the farm. After three years work on UK and Irish farms, testing our new Dry and Transition cow programme we want to introduce Fast-Start.
Lameness in Sheep.
Lameness in sheep may be due to injury, systemic illness or infections caused by organisms that have a predilection for the feet. The three most common infectious causes of lameness in sheep, in the UK, are scald, footrot and contagious ovine digital dermatitis (CODD).
They can all occur in the same flock and at the same time. The occurrence of one condition tends to predispose sheep to the others. As the health and integrity of the hoof and foot deteriorates, the severity of the infection, and therefore the lameness caused and decreased productivity, can progress in parallel.
Scald is typically seen as a reddening of the skin above the coronary band and inter digitally which progresses to become necrotic (the tissue dies away) the further it develops.
Foot rot generally appears after scald has weakened the coronary band, thus allowing the bacterium that causes foot rot (dichelobactor nodosus), to penetrate and under-run the hoof wall and colonise the foot internally. Foot rot is characterised by misshapen and overgrown hoof claws, extremely lame sheep and sheep grazing on their knees to relieve pain.
A more virulent form of infectious lameness (CODD) has appeared in the UK in recent years and is believed to be caused by organisms found in digital dermatitis of cattle, namely treponeme spp. . As the name suggests, contagious ovine digital dermatitis, is very contagious within a flock and can spread very quickly between sheep. The presence of footrot can predispose to CODD.
Kling-On-Blue footbath for sheep contains copper sulphate and zinc sulphate, an organic acid and a fixative. One 7kg bucket of Kling on Blue powder can be mixed with 120 litres of water to provide a footbath for 250 sheep. The product can be easily and readily mixed in a few minutes by agitating the footbath with a yard broom and brushing along the bottom of the bath. After standing for ten minutes, the footbath will thicken and the sheep can be walked through. Holding sheep in the bath is unnecessary. The adhesive properties enable coating of the hoof with the solution as they pass through. After walking through the footbath, sheep are left on a hard standing for 20 minutes enabling the footbath to dry as a coating. This coating process encourages penetration of the hoof by the copper sulphate and zinc sulphate for several days. Kling on Blue can be used weekly, fortnightly or whenever handling allows.
Bentley Walker Ltd
Accessing fast broadband can be frustrating, slow and disappointing to many rural homes and businesses. You could be just miles from the local exchange or relying on telephone lines to transfer information.
Bentley Walker Ltd provides the latest satellite internet service through a simple installation process which connects the service to your computer. Things will then burst in to life, with rapid speeds up to 10 Mobs/sec, running your business on-line or your home internet connection. This will change your internet usage to a more pleasurable experience.
Why come to Bentley Walker Ltd?
As a worldwide recognised leader in internet services by satellite we have proudly achieved over 25 years of experience due to our exceptional services and pricing.
How do I choose a suitable package?
We have a dedicated sales team who are happy to advice you on the appropriate package or you can view the packages on-line at: www.bentley-walker.com/tooway
What is involved with my installation?
Your satellite system will be delivered to you in readiness for our professional installation engineers to contact you. The engineers will examine the premises on their visit and make the best proposal to install the equipment in your home. For Commercial business needs a survey is required in advance of purchase due to the uncertainty of the requirements.
If you require a business installation or you believe the installation is required some distance away from your premises then a site survey is necessary, please simply make the arrangements through the following link: www.bentley-walker.com/tooway/buynow.php?product=9
If you wish to discuss your requirements please contact Bentley Walker Ltd 023 92311103
Honey bees under threat
Honey bees play a critical role in pollinating the crops we eat, playing a vital role in the agriculture business of today.
Recent controversies over honey bees remind us of their environmental and economic importance. The revival over controversies surrounding dying honey bees has brought global attention to issues farmers, beekeepers, politicians and environmental campaigners have long been aware of. Honey bees are in danger!
The debate over what to do about dying honey bees is certainly a topic the UK has seen a lot of recently. The first people to recognise the shocking extent of honey bee deaths were beekeepers. In the research carried out by them, it is certainly true to say that these beekeepers are careful and deeply invested observers.
Beekeepers worldwide can to a conclusion that neonicotinoid insecticides were the likely contributors to the increased bee mortality. However, some chemical company representatives, scientists and government regulators dismissed or disparaged their findings. Our view is that commercial beekeepers have real-time observational knowledge of the crisis facing honey bee pollinators and that we should take their research seriously. Our point is not to say that commercial beekeepers always know best, but to argue for more genuinely participatory research that brings beekeepers’ knowledge and scientists’ knowledge into a creative and egalitarian dialogue toward a fuller understanding of why honey bees are dying. Beekeepers are merely suggesting different ways of obtaining understanding the causes of honey bee deaths other than that sanctioned by government officials, chemical companies, and established scientists. It may turn out that the complexity of the ecosystem of which honeybees are a part of means that the formal, highly controlled, and ultimately limited experiments which offer the standard approach to understand the problem are not up to the challenges reflected in the epidemic facing honey bees worldwide.
The US and UK governments have supported taking the neonicotinoid pesticides off the market in the face of suggestive evidence based on scientific laboratory and field studies, and beekeepers’ observations. Given what is at stake, we strongly believe we should show preference for those who prefer to err on the side of caution. And giving that we all eat, we should all be concerned about the alarming uptick of honey bee deaths, but the current crisis can also be an opportunity to consider how to do things differently.