Monday, 13 December 2010

"Our Food Should Be Our Medicine....." now who said that?

“Our Food Should Be Our Medicine. Our Medicine Should Be Our Food” Hippocrates.
It is often said that “you are what you eat..” & that food quality is vital to our health.
Grass fed milk & meat clearly have a role in a healthy human diet. International groups of producers & consumers are forming groups like Slow Food. Well informed People in the UK are now making their views clearly heard as to what sort of food they would prefer & how they think farmers should produce it.
Surely now is the time to stand up for pasture fed milk in the UK
Conventional dairy farm pastures tend to be N fertilizer fed ryegrass only, whereas the innovative farmers in the "Pasture to Profit" network have low input & organic pastures tend to be quite diverse with white clover providing the nitrogen for the grasses in the sward. In the UK there is very little difference between the low input conventional pastures & the progressive organic dairy pastures.
However maybe we should change our pastures to include a more diverse planting. Many in the P2P network have already started to include species like Chicory.On some of the more difficult soils & drier areas farmers are experimenting with deeper rooting species such as Chicory.
These pastures look very different from conventional ryegrass pasture. The deep roots sometimes go as deep as a metre into the soil which taps into moisture & minerals well under the top soil.These mixed swards create diversity, nutritious dairy cow feed that is rich in minerals. These same herbs may assist in increasing Soil Organic Matter which is important for carbon storage in soils & plant access to nutrients. Farmers like Robert Richmond & Ben Mead are the leading pioneers with these new dairy pastures in the UK.
Grass fed milk appears to differ in the Phytochemicals (chemicals derived from plants) content, this maybe important in human cancer management.
On a recent study tour of northern Germany & Denmark we saw both Danish & German farmers including herbs like Chicory, Plantain, Caraway, Burnet, Birdsfoot Trefoil, parsley, Sainfoin & Chervil into their pasture mixes. Most were grazed out quickly but Chicory & Plantain were quite persistent.
Work was being done at the University of Kiel by Ralf Loges with a number of different herbs in pasture mixes.
In Denmark one organic milk company insisted all farmers include herbs in their pasture mixes.
So is this the future for pasture based dairy farmers? As there is little research in the UK into herbs in dairy pastures it will come down to individual farmers trying different mixes. What we will miss out on is the proof of the resultant health benefits of the milk coming from cows grazing these mixed swards that include herbs. Cotswold Seeds is a very good UK source of these herbal leys.
There are an increasing number of studies that are looking at Omega 3s & CLA in pasture fed dairy cows milk.
Grass fed milk (in many countries this is represented by the organic sector who feed more pasture compared to maize silage of the conventional dairy farmers in those countries) may also have higher Vitamin E content
Phytoestrogen may be linked to cancer prevention & has been shown to be higher in pasture fed dairy cows
Herbs & Methane?
Oregano has been found to significantly reduce methane emissions when fed to dairy cows. If you can reduce methane (cow farts & belching) that saving of energy means the cows produce more milk.
The challenge remains how to incorporate Oregano or the constituent chemicals into the dairy cows diet. Given that oregano originates in the Mediterranean

Herbs have been found to contain high levels of antioxidants.

Herbs, deep rooting leys are linked to the soil management of low input pasture based dairy farmers. Those experimenting are often coming from a better soil management view point & a concern about the monoculture of ryegrass.
Food is rapidly getting into the national agenda which is great as we want the issues debated & researched.A better informed consumer will hopefully be more healthy.

This is all very interesting & its taking us in new & exciting directions. What do you think? Please leave your comments below.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Please Support Movember, Support & Look after your fellow Dairyfarmers

If you are watching the Ashes have you noticed that Kevin Pietersen is sporting a moustache?
So too is Peter Siddle (he’s the Aussie guy who had a great 26th birthday on Day 1 at Brisbane) & Mitchell Johnson……these guys support Movember. These guys aren't just great sportsmen they are growing Mos to change the face of mens health
Have you noticed that most of the Australian Rugby players currently up for the Autumn Series also all have Moustaches….the Wallabies support "Movember".
Are you supporting “Movember”?

Movember” is an international effort by men from hundreds of countries to support more research into better Men’s health.

Pasture based dairy farmers all around the UK have joined Movember by growing a “Tache”….in an effort to change the face of men’s health. Special mention must be made of the Ankle Deep Discussion Group in Gloucester/Wiltshire and the Realfarmers Group in Dorset who have made a fantastic effort (& had a lot of fun too!)
Breast Cancer fund raising is very successful worldwide…. & rightly so as frightening numbers of women are so cruelly affected & many lose their lives. Our mothers, wives, partners, sisters & female friends……….Breast Cancer & the Pink Ribbon campaign is a serious community issue that should receive our full support. Women around the world have gotten off their arses & organised themselves & us to support the women who are ill, the research or better medicine. This has been highly successful....well done girls!
We all recognise the pink ribbon as a symbol & something we should support with donations. The month of October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.
Yet men get cancer & men die of cancer!

So where is the national concern?

How many people are aware of “Movember” where the growing of a moustache is equivalent of wearing a pink ribbon.Why are MEN SO APATHETIC? Why arent men working to actively support the research into better Men's Health????? WHY ARE MEN IN THE UK SO SLOW TO SUPPORT MOVEMBER.


Shouldnt you be embarrassed that you are NOT supporting other men?

Do you realise that…
A man dies every hour from Prostrate Cancer in the UK!
Do you know that…?
1 in every 10 men gets Prostrate Cancer!

Support the Movember Campaign organised by the Prostrate Cancer Charity in the UK or where ever you live in the world. Prostrate cancer research is grossly under funded & needs you help.
It’s really easy to Donate
Go to the website
Click on Donate & use your credit card…..its safe & its easy! Its tax effective & you get a receipt for your donation.
Support Pasture based Dairyfarmers who have grown moustaches during November to raise money for Prostrate Cancer. When you donate money you can support OUR TEAM effort.

Nominate the “Pasture to Profit Dairyfarmers Network” TEAM.
Or support my efforts….nominate “Tom Phillips”.
It all goes directly to Prostrate Cancer Research. I'm not a great one for self promotion but you should know that I too have joined Movember & grown a Mo. Much flack from family & friends but thats nothing compared to the men who have Prostrate Cancer. Please support me by donating funds on the Movember website & nominate me as the person you would like to support. Thank you! PS This is Day 20 photo....still time to donate!.

Please give generously.

Support MEN.

Support YOUR MAN

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

What's Happening in the UK is So Wrong

European & UK Agricultural policy regarding food production should concern everyone with a global view of future world food security. The UK & much of Europe has the soils & a very favourable climate for food production yet government policy seems to be driving food production down & driving farmers out. In a world with a rapidly increasing population & a world increasingly being affected by global warming this makes NO sense whatsoever. More than a third of the world has arid or semi arid climates where it is impossible to grow food. Water is becoming a very scarce resource. Food Production needs water, agriculture needs water.
The UK is so lucky in a world struggling for fresh water, but do we appreciate how lucky we really are?
Countries blessed with adequate water to produce high quality healthy food like grass fed milk have a moral obligation I believe to encourage not discourage farming.

What’s happening in the UK (with a near perfect climate for grass fed food production)is so wrong!
I’ve recently been lucky enough to drive thru parts of Utah, Arizona, Nevada & California all mostly arid states of the USA, Apart from the extraordinary beauty of the National Parks, surely some of the most amazing scenery in the world. Much of this arid land is unsuitable for food production without risking the fragile environment.
It was the drive down part of the “Historic Route 66” Highway in Arizona that set the brain thinking on a global scale for the future of agriculture & food production. The “Historic Route 66” has a fascinating history dating back to the 1920s when it became the first roadway from Chicago to Los Angeles …the first highway to cross the USA. Route 66 was completed in 1927 to great acclaim but it became even more famous after John Steinbeck wrote “The Grapes of Wrath” which was a story related to the Dust Bowl of the 1930’s. He referred to Route 66 as the “Mother Road” in his book. The Dust Bowl resulted from over cropping of what had been native grassland with fragile soils without a clear understanding of crop rotations & top soil management.

“The health of the nation is dependent upon the health of the soil”

It’s a fascinating story & the history leaves us with an important agricultural lesson especially regarding top soil & soil organic matter protection.
One of the tragic consequences of the Dust Bowl was that 2.5 million people mainly farmers & farm workers were left destitute, their farms & livelihoods ruined. Thousands of these people migrated west to California along Route 66 looking for a new life (this was the years of the Great Depression remember). The Historic Route 66 was popularised during the 1950s & 1960s with well known songs.
Today I found the Route 66 very interesting (it no longer survives as a full highway) but rather depressing. As we drove along this famous road in Arizona we saw sad & depressing signs of rural hardship & depression. The small landowners are struggling to survive the harsh climate & current recession. The most common advert on the local radio stations was lawyers advertising their bankruptcy services. This seemed a sad reflection of tough times in many parts of rural USA today.
The arid environment of these western states of the USA also highlights the extreme importance of fresh water, not only to agriculture which in California is totally dependant on this scarce resource but many humans are also reliant on bottled water. Many of the water dams storing water were disturbingly low.
The availability of water for food production can not be over stated & this is bluntly obvious when you visit arid areas where water is a scarce resource.
In Britain we simply dont appreciate the rain nor ......"the green & pleasant land"

It was said by Chief Seattle more than 150 years ago, but is still incredibly poignant today:
"Teach your children what we have taught ours that the earth is our mother. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. The earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth. Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it. We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children." A Native American Proverb.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Beware Anaerobic Digesters could be a threat to pasture based dairy farms

Anaerobic Digesters could prove to be a real threat to the profits of grass based dairy farmers in the UK. This might seem an odd thing to say when there is so much talk of green renewable energy opportunities. Successive Govt ministers are actively promoting Anaerobic Digesters as a major source of renewable energy. If you haven’t seen an Anaerobic Digester the best description is that it is exactly like a giant rumen. It requires daily feeding of a high energy feed & it needs a liquid mix in the “rumen”. The products of digestion are energy (gas), heat & some waste slurry. The higher the energy values of the feed the more efficient the output of energy. Therefore the preferred feed in Europe is maize silage. In Germany we saw very little dairy slurry being used which was a surprise.
Grass based Dairy farmers in the UK are looking at alternate energy generating opportunities I don’t think Anaerobic Digesters should be one of the viable options.
Firstly pasture based dairy farms simple don’t produce enough slurry that could feed a Digester. Maybe this is an option for a fully housed dairy farm but even then I’m certain they would start feeding it with maize. Second point is that land rentals & cattle feed prices are likely in the future be driven by the owners of Anaerobic Digesters who will buy vast amounts of maize silage. This is likely to create monocultures of maize which is not soil friendly & possibly environmentally unfriendly. Land rentals in Northern Germany are very very high & completely driven by the Anaerobic Digesters securing maize land. The third issue is that to fully capture the efficiency of a Digester you must be able to sell the heat say to a near by village for heating houses. Few ADs in Germany were able to sell the heat so it was lost to the atmosphere. This will only be possible near populated areas perhaps by city councils not farmers. Lastly the Digesters are very expensive to maintain. You have a huge engine running 24hrs a day….this is not cheap. Also the plants/tanks have a build up of sulphur which is very corrosive on all surfaces…this is becoming a major issue. If stones or waste metal are picked up by the maize harvesters this can create havoc with pumps. If Anaerobic Digesters have a place it’s near a city using waste products like vegetables or food waste. We saw a very profitable one near Amsterdam using chicken litter from farms that had NVZ problems. This seemed very sensible & environmentally friendly.
So beware Anaerobic Digesters I don’t think they are the answer. The Anaerobic Digesters we saw in Germany were professionally run by experts but they were struggling to make them pay dispite the feed in tariffs.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Solar PV looks a "No Brainer"

Ezra & Katharina are enthusiastic & highly efficient pasture based organic dairy farmers near Flensburg in Northern Germany. Imagine being so isolated from like minded farmers…..Katharina described it as “swimming against the stream or river currents” because so few dairyfarmers were trying to use low input pasture based farming methods. However isolation wont win over determination & innovation.

Alternate on-farm Energy production in Germany, Denmark & the Netherlands seem to be way ahead of the UK with many farmers & entrepreneurs already producing energy. This was the conclusion of a grass based “Pasture to Profit” discussion group who visited those countries last week. However valuable lessons can be learnt from the farmers in Europe as to which options look the most promising for grass based dairy farmers in the UK.

There is a very real opportunity for profitable dairy farmers to produce milk, surplus heifers & ENERGY from their low input systems.
The general consensus was that Solar PV with the current Feed-in-Tariffs farm scale units would have a payback of up to 8 yrs & an annual return of between 10-20% depending on purchase costs. It is important to make your decision before 2012 & grants may reduce the payback period.
This is an exciting new era with real possibilities to not only grow your business but to do it in a very green environmentally friendly way & to effectively cut or even neutralise the carbon foot print of your business.

Ezra & Katharina (“Pasture to Profit” Network members who live & farm in Northern Germany) helped to organise a fantastic study tour of their region & onto dairy farms that were producing alternate ENERGY. So we were privileged to visit efficient & well run alternate energy production on dairy farms & saw Anaerobic Digesters, Solar PV & Wind Turbines.
In this blog I want to concentrate on Solar PV as we came to the conclusion that this was a very positive option for most grass based dairy farmers in the UK… fact I think it is a “No Brainer” based on the generation Tariffs or Feed-in-tariffs (which are Retail Price Index linked)
Solar Photovoltaic (PV)
is a simple solution for generating your own electricity, reducing your energy bills & reducing your carbon foot print. The UK has committed to a plan to produce the equivalent of 31% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

Solar PV is an attractive option owing to the generous Feed-in-Tariffs ranging from 26.8-41.3 p/kwh for the next 25 years. Solar PV cells will pay back the energy used to produce then within 2 years of their 25 yr lifetime. Look for the fact sheets on Solar PV systems.

Solar PV in the UK produces energy from Daylight not direct sunlight, so cloud cover will not be prohibitive. Obviously if the sun does shine, then the greater the current that is generated. The electricity that is produced is direct current (DC) this is converted by an inverter to alternating current (AC).
A certified installer will do the installation for you but ideally the surface should face south at an angle of 30 degrees. Farm Shed roofs will be ideal so long as they can carry the extra weight (approx an extra 20kgs per Sq metre). Check that the shed has the same expected lifetime as the solar PV panels. One of the attractions of Solar PV is that it is a very low maintenance system.
From farms we visited in Germany new shed design included the Solar PV panel installation….roof pitch, height & North South orientation. In fact the Solar PV was designed to pay for the new sheds. I would expect shed design to change quite radically to include Solar PV installation.
However if the roof orientation does not allow flat instalment on the roof they can be pitched to the south as seen on the photo. There are also computer tracking devises that allow the panel to track the sun. Even whole field projects are being considered over 25 year leases/rentals but the ability to export to the National Grid must be considered.

More information can be obtained from:-

On the 16th November “Farming Futures” will be holding their next Solar PV event in Somerset

So what do you think?

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Great Dairy Research in France

So are we being left behind the French?
I've just returned from France with groups from South Wales & Leicestershire.Everytime I go to Brittany & meet the research people from Travarez (like Valerie Brocard) I am very impressed with the quality of Agricultural Science & Research in France.
Farmers in Brittany still have a huge say in the on farm research programs.
Sadly UK grass based dairy farmers have precious little input or say in the research funded by levies.
I fear for the research & the quality of the agricultural science in the UK. At some point this will severely affect the competitiveness of UK grass based dairy farmers.
Valerie introduced us to the new French (EU) feeding standards & system developed by INRA. She has been responsible for a new publication which is a practical guide to dairy herd food (unfortunately in French)
The new INRA system (the Irish are already using it) is a huge step forward in a better understanding of dairy cow nutritional requirements. It takes account of the stage of lactation & better estimates the true value of the feed. It will be an ideal tool to measure N in & N out (as most of the N a cow eats is excreted).

We should be able to identify the ideal supplement to partner good quality grazed pasture & not have a detrimental impact on the environment by using the INRA system.

Photo Scoop of the year....Chris standing in deep dairy clover pasture
"So what did you say this stuff was Nigel?"
Traditionally diets have been formulated to metabolisable energy (ME) but this system overvalues the energy value of poor quality feeds relative to good quality feeds. For this reason a net energy (NE) system is being adopted which will allow better comparisons between the nutritional value of feedstuffs. The NE value of feedstuffs is expressed in terms of FEED UNITS (UF). The system applies two NE values to feedstuffs: (I) UFL for lactating dairy cows, growing beef cattle and sheep and (2) UFV for finishing cattle. In most situations (dairy, beef and sheep) UFL values are used, apart from situations where high levels of concentrates (80% +) are being offered or growth rates over 1.0 kg per day are being achieved. In this situation the UFV value is used.

Barley is the standard feed in this system and all other feeds are given values relative to barley. Standard barley has a net energy value of 1 UFL or 1 UFV per kg as fed. The lower the UFL or UFV value the poorer the energy value of the feed. The NE value of feedstuffs range from 0.45 UFL / kg as fed for good quality straw to 1.05 / kg as fed for maize grain. The UFL value of grass silage (70% DMD) is 0.78 / kg dry matter and that of maize silage (25% starch) is 0.80 / kg dry matter.

Protein is made up of building blocks called amino acids. The true protein value of any feedstuff is best measured by the quantity of these amino acids that are absorbed by the animal, not what the animal consumes. The amino acids that are absorbed by the animal come from two sources: (1) bacteria in the rumen (first stomach) of the cow, which converts energy and nitrogen into bacterial protein (bacterial amino acids) and (2) undegradable protein in the feed, which is not changed in the rumen. The quantity of bacterial amino acids made by the bacteria in the stomach is reliant on a supply of nitrogen and energy. There are potentially two amounts of bacterial protein that the cow can generate - one that relies on there being enough nitrogen in the rumen and one that relies on there being enough energy in the rumen. If there is a limited supply of nitrogen the protein value is called PDIN. If there is a limited supply of energy the protein value is called PDIE. Each feed has two values (PDIN and PDIE).
The lower of the two values is the actual protein value of the feed. Feeds that are high in crude protein tend also to be high in PDIN. Usually in grass silage based diets there is not enough energy to convert all the nitrogen in the diet into bacterial protein. Therefore, the energy supply is limiting and the protein value of grass silage is normally as PDIE.

Much of this is taken from a 2000 Irish Dairy Conference paper presented by Dr Siobhan Kavanagh & Dr John Murphy of Teagasc....the full paper is well worth reading.
If we are being left behind in the UK what are you going to do about it! I think we in the UK should be very concerned at the lack of dairy pasture based research

Friday, 10 September 2010

The Origins of the Pasture Wedge Graph

Have you ever wondered how the

"Pasture Wedge Graph" started. 

Who invented it & who developed the original concept?

Tom Phillips (thats me!) developed the original concept of the Pasture Wedge Graph.
 I was working with Discussion Group dairyfarmers in the Matamata area of the Waikato, New Zealand in 1976. Initially it started as chalk drawn wedge diagrams on milking shed (milking parlour) walls or concrete floors.... that resembled silage clamps of pasture stored on the farm that day. This was before white boards or computers remember....we had it tough in those "oldie" days.
The development of the Pasture Wedge Graph is a classic example of a product of an ideas person/adviser working with smart farmers & combining forces with very good researchers & communicators....classic "Tipping Point"as the Pasture wedge Graph is now used in every pasture based dairy industry through out the world.

This photo is of the very first "Pasture Wedge Graph".....a photo that very proudly hangs in my office.

The very first official "Pasture Wedge Graph" was drawn by me (1976) to represent the "ideal pasture for grazing " growing lush pasture of about 15cm (6 inches) at the top of the diagram & at the bottom of the wedge we showed the short residual (stubble) that was 3cm long. At the extreme ends was grass that was too long for grazing (note the stalky tall grass with little clover & dead matter at the base OR pasture that was too short.....both affecting milk yields (cow pasture intakes) & opening up the sward & encouraging weed infestation.
The next "small but very important"step was taken by me working closely with two now famous NZ Researchers at Ruakura.....Des Clayton & Dr Arnold Bryant. Arnold was a friend of mine & at the time was one of NZ's best known dairy researchers heading the team at No2. Dairy Ruakura. The concept of the wedge appealed to Arnold as it neatly summarised the work at No.2 Dairy. This was quite an achievement as Arnold was a tough man & a very rigourous scientist. Des then took the idea of the wedge across NZ in his role as advocate for research at Ruakura....the rest is history as they say.....
Dr Arnold Bryant had a massive impact on NZ Dairy farmers & the way in which grazing management was so important to low cost productivity. You may not have heard of Dr Bryant but believe me he influenced a generation of farmers & advisers. Quite rightly he has been honoured for his contributions to grass based dairy farming world wide.
After working in NZ I moved to Victoria Australia......where we used the pasture grazing wedge extensively in the DPI Dairy Officers' extension program & later the Target 10 program in the mid 1980s.
Australian dairy farmers really contributed to the thinking as they faced abrupt changes to pasture growth patterns. So how to move from one grazing rotation to a different grazing pattern was really tested in Victoria. Its a very good example of collaboration and participatory research & development. Now there are so many packages and cloud based products available to farmers in many different countries.......sadly few realize nor acknowledge the participatory process that key farmers contributed to......... to even get the thinking right back in the 1970-80s.
Victorian dairy farmers played an important role to the development of the Pasture Wedge Graph concept.
Thanks guys!
Much much later in the early 2000's work at Lincoln University Dairy Farm revisited Arnold Bryant's work. Adrian Van Bysterveldt & Peter Gaul started to put numbers on the pasture wedge graph & ask the question how could they record plate meter readings and use it as a predictive tool. They had a very special WOW moment.....the rest is history!

The very first scientific paper documenting this mathematical assessment of the pasture wedge graph was written by Adrian at the SIDE Conference 2005 "Lincoln University dairy farm, now a cropping farm?" Proceedings of the New Zealand South Island Dairy Event. LUDF and Adrian & Peter in particular  very successfully used the demo farm to extend the grazing message.....this time world wide as the internet website has been so successful.

Actual figures & an understanding of the mathematics of the Demand line gave this humble graph immense power.
The real power lies in the fact that it is VERY SIMPLE but conveys a powerful message in the visual picture.
When I first arrived in the UK in 2001 I was amused but very proud to hear terms like "Pasture Wedge Graphs" & "Magic Spring Day" which I had developed back in 1976. It's intriguing that that language of the grass based dairy farmer has traversed through out the world & is being used not only correctly but very successfully by advisers & farmers.
It's not only the UK of course but the grazing wedge has got to the USA as well as Ireland, Argentina & Chile & South Africa & France.

Now we are moving rapidly into a new & exciting data bases where individual grass based dairy farmers anywhere in the world can log their pasture measurements, look at their pasture wedge graphs & compare with other groups of farmers & their consultants.
This could have a big influence on how Dairyfarm Discussion Groups use & compare grazing data.
Can I introduce Agrinet.....
The Agrinet website will allow grass based dairyfarmers who regularly measure grass with a platemeter to go online & calculate their data & wedge graphs online. The real power will be the ability to team up with your fellow Discussion Group members & compare graphs. Keep your grazing consultant in the loop too.

I strongly recommend you have a look at the Agrinet website......its free until 2011 when the annual fee is expected to be approx 80 Euros per year. Try it & talk to your group about joining .....lets talk about it on the Pasture to Profit Network Discussion Group on Facebook.

I'm incredibly proud of this humble little Pasture Wedge Graph that started life before many current users were even born. It's had a huge impact on grass based dairy farm management for thousands of farmers all over the's come a long way from Jim Diprose's concrete cow yard chalk diagram at Matamata.

I guess we've reached the "tipping point"!
Can I make the plea with current & future users to "Keep it Simple" as the real power is in it's simplicity!

In the UK we are now entering a critical stage of the grazing cycle. We are currently grazing the second to last time & we need to build covers to approx 2600-2700 by or for the first week of October.

Regular measurement & use of the grazing graphs is critical. This is a time of critical decisions & you have to get the timing just right. You must know the target covers for October. You must graze grass out cleanly & get the residuals down to 3cm or 1500kgs DM/ha.

A current dilemma on many Discussion Group farms (especially those that have only had recent rains) is the patches (Grass Monuments) of high nutrient grass that the cows are very reluctant to graze. Under each of these "Grass Monuments" that are embarrassingly obvious (due to colour & height) at the moment is an old dung pad. Grass Monuments are normally associated with under grazing or low stocking rates but in this case its a seasonal issue after rains that broke an unusual dry spell. The issue is do you pre mow & graze these paddocks or do you get it in the first week of October when you start your last grazing rotation.

Some Autumn Calvers have stored pasture since June which they are now grazing with the Springers mob. Below is a photo of an Autumn calving group on a mixed sward of deep rooting species including Chicory. This is an interesting concept that along with the "tall Grazing concept" is designed to increase the Soil Organic Matter....interesting onfarm experimental work by innovative farmers.
Remember the target now is to build pasture covers to approx 2600-2700kgs DM/ha by the first week of October. The last grazing rotation will start on most UK grass based dairyfarms in the first week of October & end sometime in November or December depending on wetness & when grass covers reduce to about av. 2100kgs DM/ha.
Grass Covers & Pasture Growth This Week
Northern Ireland 2350kg Av Cover, 70kg DM/ha growth, Demand 45kgs/ha
Dumfries 2550, 55kg growth, 51day rotation
Cumbria 2600, 54kg growth
North Wales 2050kg, 43kg
Cheshire Organic, 2223, 43kg
Shropshire 2470kg, 89kg
Staffordshire 2396, 51kg
Staffordshire 2610, 45kgs rain needed
Hereford Org 2329, 41kg
Hereford Org 2520, 45kgs
Hereford 2300, 50 kgs, 35kg demand, 3kg cake
Gloucestershire 2522kg, 77 kg growth, 30 days
SW Wales 2537, 85kg growth, 37 demand, 32days
SW Wales org 2664kg cover
SW Wales 2350kg, 65kg growth
Somerset Org 2350, 50kg growth
Dorset 2289, 40kg growth, 45 days
Dorset 2250, 47kg growth
Cornwall 2500, 80 kg growth
Cornwall 2250, 40kg, 36 days
Limerick Ireland 2400, 65kg
Rotorua NZ 2040kg cover & 52 kg growth

Monday, 30 August 2010

Great Dairying Opportunities in Tasmania for UK Farmers & Herdsmen

Tasmania is coming to the UK Dairy Event. At this years Dairy Event in Birmingham 7th & 8th September......the Tasmania will be at Stand BM-256 in the Business Management section.
Are you getting frustrated with your progress thru the dairy you think there are few opportunities here in the UK for you? Have you considered Tasmania?

Are you looking for an investment opportunity in dairying? Have you considered Tasmania?

Are you looking for exciting dairy farm work opportunities overseas.....using your pasture based dairying skills? Have you considered Tasmania?
Staff BBQ at Matthew & Pippa Gunninghams Tasmanian Dairy Farm
Tasmania has exciting opportunities for emigrating dairy farmers especially those with pasture & grazing skills. If you are good at your job in the UK you will really go places in Tasmania. Whats more Tasmania has a lovely climate with a real summer............great place for families & a great place to bring up children.
“The kids love the lifestyle here, the freedom and the space, and made many friends quickly".

The Australian economy is doing very well & the Tasmanian Govt is encouraging dairying in its state & helping people to make the move.

A number of English Pasture to Profit Discussion Group families have very successfully moved to Tasmania. Matthew & Pippa Gunningham from Somerset, Richard Smart & Tina Hole from the Grass Routes group in Dorset, Phillip & Dinah Spratt members of the Ankle Deep group from Thornbury & most recently Ben & Rebecca Bates from Wyegraze DG in Monmouthshire, Wales.
Matthew & Pippa left the family farm in Somerset & started with 300 cows on the north coast of they farm over 2000 cows
Tasmania has many migrant families from Holland, New Zealand & the UK successfully now farming in Tasmania....mostly on the north coast. There are some really useful websites to help you

When Matthew and Pippa Gunningham two years ago employed Gerard Mulder to manage their Mawbanna dairy farm, they had never met him. But the Gunninghams knew firsthand that uprooting a family in Europe and starting a new life across the world proved firm commitment to a job.
“Gerard had good references, we talked on the phone and he made a good impression,” says Matthew. “And we knew as English immigrants ourselves that you don’t come all this way for nothing, so we gave it a whirl. It turned out very well ­– the Mulders did a great job, and became great friends as well.”
The Gunninghams were so happy with the experience that they sponsored another Dutchman to replace Gerard. This time Matthew had actually met and interviewed Jeamba van Melick but the main reason for employing him was again the level of commitment he showed to the job – transplanting his family from Holland. To help the transition in farm management and settle the van Melicks in, Jeamba had six months working with Gerard at Mawbanna before Gerard’s two years were up.
“It meant that we had continuity in the process, and things have gone very smoothly,” Matthew said. The Gunninghams are also an immigration success story. Disillusioned with dairying in England because of red tape, high costs and other factors, they visited New Zealand and Tasmania to view opportunities and bought at Mawbanna. Since moving in 2000 they have expanded that farm and bought two more in Circular Head, milking almost 2,000 cows altogether with plans to grow further.
Ben & Rebecca Bates who were regular members of the Wyegraze pasture based dairy farmers Discussion Group in SE Wales have only just arrived in Tasmania for the spring calving on one of Matthew's farms......"first impressions has been the good winter pasture growth." said Ben

The Tasmanian dairy industry is a temperate climate pasture-based industry that supplies milk for a range of high quality manufactured products including fresh milk, cheeses, powders, fat products, yoghurts and other specialty products.
Over the past 10 or so years, many farmers from New Zealand, Holland and the UK have purchased farms in Tasmania, particularly dairy and cropping farms in the north of the State.
Geographically and climatically, Tasmania differs from mainland Australia. The island is dotted with mountains and lakes and enjoys a mild, temperate climate. A maritime climate means there are no big temperature fluctuations or extremes. The average maximum summer temperature in the capital Hobart is a pleasant 22 degrees Celsius in summer, and 12 degrees in winter.
Tasmania has a population of only around half a million people, and with low living costs and excellent infrastructure, it offers genuine quality of life and some of Australia's most affordable land and real estate. Long summer days, minimal travelling times, numerous National Parks and first-class sporting and cultural facilities mean most people enjoy a healthy, unhurried lifestyle centred on the "great outdoors".
Tasmania's economy is small and open, with an industry structure that is broadly similar to that of Australia as a whole. Agriculture, forestry, fishing and mining are key sectors. About half of Tasmania's total production is distributed to the local market, with 30 per cent being exported to mainland Australia and the remaining 20 per cent being exported overseas.

Are you interested to Talk about moving out to Tasmania .....Come to the Dairy Event September 7th & 8th at the NEC in Birmingham Tim from the Tasmanian Dept of Economic Development will be on Stand BM-256 in the Business Management section to help you.