John Davies: Silage stocks take a hit as outcome of Glastir proposals is firmly on our minds

THE weather has stopped us getting on with any of the normal winter maintenance jobs, such as fencing.

However, we have been quite busy with the slurry pumping system and have managed to spread quite a lot of farmyard manure.

The cold weather has seen our silage stocks take a hit and the artic load of beet nuts and barley extract only lasted a month, although the ewes and young cattle it was fed to are looking well.

The single BSF ewes have gone back out to the military range and will be brought back in just before lambing.

Under the Glastir proposals, if 80 per cent of the graziers vote for the stock clearance option, this will not be allowed in the future.

I’m reasonably open-minded on this, but I guess there could be some widely differing views.

Having been to a couple of Glastir meetings, I have been worried the National Assembly were not listening, but they have since been on the phone so there is some hope.

For some reason, single interest groups have had too much influence drawing up the prescriptions. Unless there are significant changes, it will not see much uptake from farmers and will not achieve its goals, which is disappointing because there are opportunities for win-wins through the use of science. For example, the latest high sugar grasses improve efficiency and cut greenhouse gases by 20 per cent.

We took a load of cattle up to Dovecote in Lincoln. It was a long trip, which had to be delayed by 10 days due to snow, but I think it was worth it. They graded well and averaged £1,023 for 11 heifers and 10 steers.

We have bought a second-hand lime spreader. Having not spread enough lime for the last few years, we will look to put levels right this year. We need to be more productive for less inputs, like everyone else.

Due to dual claim rules, we may need to sell some entitlements, rent more ground or buy some. What would suit would be some lower ground capable of growing a good crop of cereals or maize. Having listened to Professor Wynne Jones in the FRAgS conference in Aberystwyth, I guess the best option would be to buy some. Are we feeling brave?

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