We’ve moved our calving block back a month, so we’re not due to have calves on the ground until early August, but as usual we’ve had a few calve in early. The five dairy calves we’ve had so far, from four cows, are all heifers. Nice figures to start the season!
Unfortunately we are dealing with some far from positive figures in other areas. The milk price just keeps falling, so we are having to closely examine our costs, as something has to give. Matt has been looking at protocols with the vet, as he usually does in preparation for calving, but this time everything is being doubly scrutinised for its cost-effectiveness.
Any dreams about new tractors have had to be shelved for the time being; when we’re clamping down on any excesses in general running costs we can hardly justify any big expenditures. Having enjoyed a few good years with the milk price, we have been able to complete a few long-planned, long-term projects, but we are in a much more restrained period now.
Figures are funny things, sometimes it seems like the numbers that flow in and out of the farm bank account have a life of their own. But it’s always nice when you can look at a project and see exactly where your money has gone, the farm cottages are one such project. We’re all glad that we struck when the iron was hot where they’re concerned. Seeing them go up is a constant reminder that we are working and investing for future generations.
In farming, as in all business, some projects require a big outlay to begin with, but promise a pay off in the long run. It’s about weighing up the figures, but it’s also about considering what kind of legacy we want to leave. We’re currently moving ahead with a biomass project that will heat the water for the parlour, powered by a wood chip boiler. A lot of work and money will go into setting this in motion, but the figures will eventually add up, with the help of the government subsidy, and as a step in the direction of sustainability this is a project that we can be proud of in the long term.