Business Briefing Newsletter March 2018

Welcome to the March edition of the  Farm Consultancy Group  Business Briefing Newsletter.   In this issue the feature article from the Carmarthen office questions do grass leys suiting your farm? plus more topics including shedding gates, milk response to feeding concentrates, BPS 2018, slurry and manure values, a young people into agriculture scheme and an article Australian dairy industry following a study tour.

Do Your Grass Leys Suit Your Farm? – Huw Thomas (Carmarthen)

Typically, the grass-seed mixtures used on farms are very similar and are predominantly made up of three or four different grass species. Very little consideration is given to using alternative grass species or specific grass mixtures to match the farming system you operate or other variables such as soil type, stocking rate etc.

Is your farm in a high rainfall area, or on marginal or heavy ground? If so, the ability to utilise the grass should take precedent over production or total dry matter yield.  Grass leys on these farms will often consist of long-term leys which are dominated by diploids. When you are re-seeding such pastures, consideration should be given to varieties that have been selected for having high ground cover scores as well as yield and D-value.  Read more ...

Australian Dairy Industry Study Tour – Anna Bowen (Carmarthen)

In 2017 I was very lucky to be awarded a scholarship by the Richard John Memorial Trust to carry out a study tour of the Australian dairy industry. My trip was planned for October to coincide with the Southern Hemisphere spring and to avoid the tropical wet season, and its focus was to better understand the ways in which Australian dairy farmers manage in an industry that is unsubsidised and exposed to the fluctuations of the world market.  Read more ...

Young People into Agriculture Scheme – Huw Thomas (Carmarthen)

The Welsh Government have recently confirmed that a new scheme namely Young People into Agriculture Scheme, will open in April and follow on from the highly successful Young Entrants into Agriculture scheme which ran from 2010 to 2015.

The scheme is designed to assist high-achieving young farmers (under the age of 40 at 1st of April 2018) setting up as ‘head-of-holding’ for the first time to develop their business resilience as we transition from the EU.  Read more ...

Dairy Farmers – Why are you not all considering a Shedding Gate? – Wesley Habershon (Chippenham)

Many of you may be aware that there is a 40% Grant available on the RDPE Countryside Productivity Small Grant scheme which includes EID Shedding gates. If you would like to know more please contact your local FCG office, because these Grants are only available for application until the 14th March 2018.

With milk prices likely to fall back further this year many of you may be tempted to utilise more grazed grass to reduce feed costs. Ultimately, I would argue that regardless of milk price all dairy producers should be looking to utilise grazed grass better, especially in high yield systems.  Read more ...

Milk Response to Feeding Concentrates at Grass – Cled Richards (Carmarthen)

 We are frequently asked by our grass based dairy farmers clients ‘what is the milk response to feeding concentrates at grass?’  These are businesses that focus on maximising the use of grazed grass, typically concentrates are fed when grass availability is limiting.  We have however seen a movement towards increased concentrate feeding rates, this has often been tied in with stocking rates that have been purposely increased to maximise grass utilisation during the peak spring and summer growth months. We are therefore now seeing a large variation in stocking rates and supplementary feeding levels within spring calving systems.  Read more ...

Basic Payment Scheme 2018 – Sophie Cahill (Sherborne)

  The RPA have confirmed that the 2018 Basic Payment Scheme window will open on 13th March. This is two weeks later than in 2017, thereby shortening the application window. You are probably aware that the RPA have been doing a huge amount of remapping, some of which will have to be corrected before the application deadline on 15th May. Having already checked the remapping for some clients, I have found the changes to be a mixture of changes in field size, change to field number and the removal of ineligible features.  Read more ...

Slurry and Manure Values – Charles Holt (Lincoln)

I have recently received an email from NRM, who we use for analysis work, as follows: “It’s that time of year when organic manures and slurries are either being applied to fields or in the very near future will be (although the horrendous weather we have been experiencing recently has certainly not been helpful) and therefore we thought it was worth reminding our customers of the work that NRM carried out last year on the nutritional values of animal manures and slurries.”   Read more ...

Posted in Business Briefing.