What a fabulous day spent at the East Kent ploughing match. There’s so much to see and do, and as always, it’s our annual catch up with so many of our local farmers that we seem to see at the ploughing match. Lots of schools came to visit and attendance appeared to be up on previous years. Congratulations to all who organise it, a mammoth task by anyone’s standards.

Editorial deadlines meant it was too late to alter my last column, but I felt it important to mention that a local company has managed to restore our faith in humanity. Big Bale (South East) came to our rescue in the middle of harvest this year. We had hired a brand new bale chaser from them and had used it for approximately 24 hours when we had to make the dreaded phone call… 

A rotten tree (covered in ivy) managed to dislodge itself along our lane and narrowly missed hitting the front of our tractor, instead landing on the roof and the bale chaser. Fortunately no one was injured, but it was a rather large wakeup call and left us without a tractor or a bale chaser. We delegated to Fergus the job of letting Big Bale know, and within five minutes he was asking Monty to drop him off at Burgess Hill (to meet Big Bale halfway) to collect a new tractor and chaser which we could have for the remainder of our hire agreement. It was an incredible offer from an incredible company that enabled us to carry on carting bales without any issues. Thank you doesn’t seem to be enough. Harvest is always stressful enough, but without their support it would have been 10 times harder.

Mr Grumpy and I had the pleasure of enduring an hour-long webinar provided by our milk purchaser on the topic of calf rearing. The first 56 minutes of the 60min talk was spent discussing housing, milk, feeding, bedding, sexed semen etc and the last two minutes were spent discussing the price and the fact that, however unfortunate it seemed, farmers were unable to make any money out of rearing the calves and adhering to the stringent standards set out by our milk purchaser. So, not only is the milk price not profitable, neither is rearing the offspring. All other costs are rising but the milk price appears to be bucking the trend.

Drilling is now underway/completed (weather dependent), and the countdown is on until Fergus leaves for ‘down-under’. By the time you read this there will be less than two weeks to go. Mr Grumpy and I are definitely not looking forward to it, although, I am sure he will have an amazing time. 

Monty has been working hard and has been able to “remotely remote”. This involves being able to access the dairy computer system via his phone and assess all the cows that may not have been ruminating/eating/lying down as much as they should. He can then flag any cows and shed them off at milking time to assess/treat any that may need it. It’s an incredible system, all done through a transponder around the cow’s neck. He can even shed them off in his lunch break at school.

Until next time stay safe.