Welcome to 2014! We start this year encouraged by the hope of a more appealing milk price than we have known in many years. We are also pleased to note that the cows are milking far above prediction, though more concentrates are being fed than we’d planned.
We have now come to the end of serving, and the spring block will start calving at the end of January. Our six week pregnancy rate for this last block of A.I. passed 50% for the first time, which was an encouraging improvement on last year. Unfortunately our AI results have deteriorated towards the end of the breeding season, but this is to be expected, as the worst breeders always come at the end of the block.
At the beginning of 2014 the phrase “New Year, New Start”, is very fitting for Lime End Farm. We have just made the difficult decision to change milk buyer. Though our previous buyer has been very fair, the offer of a contract from elsewhere placed a spotlight on the farm’s values. This new contract should provide us with more security in the long term, and the final decision boiled down to choosing between investing in the future, or maintaining consistency for today. It’s doubtful that there is another industry where generations are so intertwined as they are in the farming world, and today’s decisions must stand the test of time in the decades to come. If we were living for the moment, the exit signs would have started flashing long ago, and maybe again each cold, damp and uncompromisingly early morning. But if we’re living for tomorrow then we must leave behind something that we’re proud of, we must do everything we can to bless the next generation, and the one after that.
The younger generation of Fords are conscious of the sacrifices already made by their predecessors, and are grateful for the opportunity, at a comparatively young age in farming, to have played their part in making such a key decision. A conference attended by Matt and Liz in the autumn highlighted the need for open conversation and shared responsibility within farming families, and God be thanked, this is a reality on our farm. The conference made clear that many young farmers have a long wait before they can start making decisions and begin to make their farm their own, not so in this family. And that is the kind of legacy we would be proud to pass on to the farmers of the future.