**DF Mar Cover_Layout 1 22/02/2013 08:39 Page 1
They’ll tell you when you’ve got it right
Pages 32-37 Volume 60 Issue 3
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Lambert Leonard May WP DF_Lambert Leonard May WP DF 22/02/2013 09:32 Page 1
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**DF Mar p1 Leader_Layout 1 22/02/2013 12:47 Page 1
a word from the
e Cymru – ardal llaeth a chyfoeth. No, not a printing error but for those of us not from the principality, it reads ‘Wales – the land of Milk and Money’. This was the opening sentence when correspondent Ian Potter went to address milk producers in South Wales. At one time farmers in this neck of the woods had just a small handful of buyers wanting their milk and now it looks set to be a veritable battlefield with the likes of Arla, Wiseman, DC, First Milk, Freshways, Medina, Glanbia et al wanting a slice of the action down there. Heightened competition is starting to show in other parts of the country too with milk buyers laying out their goodies to tempt any disgruntled passer-by. For a start Arla has just launched a new fully ‘code compliant’ direct contract for farmers who do not want to join Arla Foods Milk Partnership; Wiseman is believed to be due to launch its campaign soon; and Dairy Crest is set
to unveil its formula pricing details. Even that stalwart of South Wales milk procurement, First Milk, is conscious of not allowing the rug to be pulled from under its feet by offering more tempting prices and direct contracts. Such competition for milk is the bright light on the horizon and will be sharpened by greater contract flexibility. But will the financial benefits of this scramble come soon enough to cover winter feed bills? It doesn’t look like it, which is why there are widespread calls for FFA to re-man the picket lines. And although Captain Handley has not given the go-ahead yet, patience is fast running out!
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**DF Mar p2 3 Contents_Layout 1 22/02/2013 08:41 Page 1
CONTENTS march Volume 60 Issue 3
Welfare focus On farm
4-6 8-9 16-17 54-55
Latest news Cowmen Comment Potter’s View Good Evans
Cow comfort is key driver for organic Queenscairn dairy herd
Regulars 24-25 44-46 50 56
Vet’s View Milk Prices Workshop tips Finance
Forage & grassland Special feature
Using brassicas as a solution to reseeding, how to tackle shortages in forage stocks and tips on managing your cows at turnout
**DF Mar p2 3 Contents_Layout 1 22/02/2013 08:41 Page 2
Can sire selection help breed dermatitis out of our herds?
Practical approach to managing diseases
Opportunities in wind energy and latest on renewable schemes and incentives
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**DF Mar p4 5 6 News _Layout 1 22/02/2013 11:27 Page 1
FFA gets mandate to turn up the pressure
armers For Action says it is running out of patience with milk processors after milk price rises failed to materialise for February. At a recent meeting in Derbyshire, David Handley was given a strong mandate to keep applying the pressure, and farmers said they were unanimous in supporting a resumption of the protests, if necessary. However, they may have
rMeadow Foods is investing £3.1 million at its fresh division in Peterborough. An initial £1.3m investment will be spent to fully automate and double the cultured plant’s capacity, and to reduce waste and increase efficiency. A further £1.8m has been assigned this year for new mix tanks, inline standardisation and additional on-site storage. This investment, it says, will improve product quality and give Meadow the capacity to produce enough packed cream to satisfy the entire UK market.
an uphill task – the cream price is nothing spectacular at about £1.28, and butter and cheese prices are steady.
EU markets And EU markets are, if anything, slipping – albeit slightly. The US market is more bearish now than it was two months ago after milk volumes picked up, but there are some positive signs from the Global Dairy Trade, especially
with forward prices for the likes of Skimmed Milk Powder. Although many farmers here state these factors do not impinge on the UK because we do not make much butter or powder, the reality is the effect it has on buyer sentiment as it is a lot easier to get price rises when global markets are moving up than it is when they are going down. The latest Global Dairy Trade Auction’s index was
up 3.1%. This means there has been five consecutive auctions where the index moved up. In fact there have been only two auctions in the last 14 where the index moved down. While most of those forward movements have been small, nevertheless the SMP price is now higher than at any time since July 2011, and the WMP price higher than December 2011.
Arla Foods offers code contract JThe rhetoric against Arla Foods over whether it will comply with the voluntary code or not has been building for weeks as the dairy coalition’s end of March deadline for compliance runs down. But, in a move which took critics by surprise, the firm has launched a new ‘Arla Direct’ contract which it says ‘is leading the industry by being the first supply contract that is fully compliant with all aspects of the code’. The contract features liquid and compositional variations, a volume bonus for larger producers, seasonality options and a 12-month
notice period with a threemonth trigger as specified in the code. Launched It has been launched as part of the co-operative’s drive to secure an additional 500 million litres of milk in the UK – on top of the 3.2bn litres it currently sources – and is being offered at a standard litre price of 30.02ppl. It is being made available to farmers in England, Scotland and particularly Wales – where it is increasingly sourcing from. It means the firm has diversified from sourcing milk via its Arla Foods Milk Part-
nership, which consists of 1300 farmers (and latterly through Arla-Milk Link members). Farmers who aspire to be members of Arla Foods amba will be advised to select AFMP’s shared ownership model, with the new Arla Direct contract being available for those who want to supply Arla but would prefer a direct supply option. The NFU welcomed the move. Mansel Raymond said: “We urge all other milk buyers to fundamentally review their milk supply contracts to ensure full compliance with the dairy contract code.”
**DF Mar p4 5 6 News _Layout 1 22/02/2013 11:27 Page 2
DC retains supply contract
JDairy Crest has retained its contract to supply milk to Sainsbury’s from February 2014, but at a lower price with the new contract for three years. The company says its policy is to become more efficient through cost reductions and share those with shareholders, customers and farmers via a better milk price. It says it is on track to exceed its annual cost savings target by delivering savings of around £23m for the year ending March 31, 2013.
JProduction in January was 1058.7m litres, 59.5m litres (5.32%) lower than the same month last year. Cumulatively we have produced 10,884m litres, which is 354m and 3.3% lower than last year. GB production is around 3.7% lower last year.
Irish heifer calvings go up by half JA third more cows have calved in Ireland so far in 2013 compared to 2012, giving firm evidence the Irish may be taking up their Government’s exaltations to expand. A total of 240,653 cows calved between January 1 and February 8, compared to 185,367 last year. Heifer calvings are up 55% and the number of dairy replacements increased by 70%. The overall effect, which is due to both more heifers calving and a change in the calving pattern, will ring alarm bells among UK cheese makers at a time when cheese prices are generally high. It is almost certain a significant amount of Irish cheese
Farm open day
will come into the UK as a result of this extra milk – to add to that which has already arrived – and have a bearish effect on the market. Difficulties Farmers For Action’s David Handley has publicly recognised the difficulties this will cause them in price negotiations with processors, as excessive price demands will quickly make UK cheese uncompetitive. It is known very little cheese is in store that does not already have a buyer allocated to it, but this can, and will, quickly change. Irish milk production for December was 6.2% below 2011 levels at 136.2 million litres.
rDairy Farmer readers are cordially invited to attend an open day at Tim Gibson’s Hunters Hill Farm, Bedale, North Yorkshire, on Wednesday, April 10, 10.00 to 4.00pm. Tim has kindly agreed to host the day when visitors will have the opportunity to inspect his herd, see the three robots in action, and view the recently installed automatic feeding system. In addition, guest speakers Ian Potter and David Handley will take the microphone at 1.30pm to give you their take on the current state of the UK milk industry. A free lunch will be provided for those who register beforehand by calling 01677 424 284 which will help with the planning of numbers. Otherwise, attendees will be asked to register on arrival at the farm.
**DF Mar p4 5 6 News _Layout 1 22/02/2013 11:27 Page 3
NEWS News in brief Semen exports
JDespite worries over Schmallenberg virus (SBV) present in bovine semen, Canada has now lifted its ban on European semen and embryos collected after June 1, 2011. Products from SBV donors, tested negative prior to collection and a minimum of 28 days post-collection, will be permitted. However, the importation of semen and embryos from positive SBV male and female donors to Canada remains restricted.
Farmers discharged in gangmaster case Marden Management from the outset’. “They couldn’t understand why the Defra team decided to prosecute the farmers,” he said. “The District Judge said the GLA’s guidance at the time was ‘misleading’ because it wasn’t clear the rules applied to the dairy industry.”
JThe official Defra farmgate price for December was 30.9ppl, and the average price for 2012 was 28.03p. Both were records. However because of rising costs, average farm incomes are projected to drop 44% on last year to settle at £50,000, compared to nearly £90,000. In 2010/11 dairy incomes were £71,500.
JFifteen dairy farmers prosecuted by the Gangmasters Licencing Authority (GLA) for using labour from an unlicenced gangmaster – Marden Management – have all received absolute discharges from Swindon Magistrates Court, in a case which has reportedly cost more than £100,000. The discharge was despite the farmers pleading guilty to the offence of taking labour from an unlicensed gangmaster. They were ordered to pay just £300 each towards the costs of the prosecution. NFU president Peter Kendall called the GLA’s approach to the Marden Management prosecutions ‘heavy-handed’ as ‘the farmers involved in this case co-operated with the GLA investigation into
JFirst Milk is to increase its liquid pool price by 0.5ppl and its cheese and balancing pools by 0.4ppl from 1 April. It is also increasing its farmer investment level from 0.2ppl to 0.5ppl to ‘go faster and further with our investments’, as well as ‘exploring routes where its
employees and farmers supplying milk to other companies can also invest in its added value growth strategy’. Members will be consulted on this route as part of its regular Farmer Forum meetings. First Milk chairman Bill Mustoe said: “We have invested £20 million over
the last 18 months on acquisitions and joint ventures through a mixture of existing bank facilities and cash generated from the business.
Dairy incomes fall
Disappointed But the GLA was unrepentant, and in a comment its chief executive Paul Broadbent said he was ‘disappointed’. “This was by far the most serious example the authority has tackled exclusively, in terms of the intentional, well-organised and systematic financial exploitation of workers, but the punishment does not fully reflect that,” said Mr Broadbent.
Defence solicitor Tim Hayden, from Taunton-based Clarke Willmott, said: “You have to say the proceedings against this group of farmers have achieved very little. On the GLA side, at least £100,000 spent in prosecuting, no penalties imposed in any of the 18 cases and a recovery of £6800 in costs. On the other, three years of anxiety, court appearances and substantial defence costs primarily in contesting financial allegations which were subsequently withdrawn by the GLA. “It is extraordinary the prosecution has chosen to allege in a press release that these farmers were exploiting workers when they explicitly withdrew that allegation against the whole of this group by letter in March 2012,” he said.
First Milk looks to increase farmer investment level
Added value “In order to speed up our move into added value we are looking at every avenue
to secure funding for our added value investment strategy, and this has prompted a number of discussions with our employees and farmers currently supplying milk to other companies. They like what we're doing and the direction we're taking, and they want to be part of it.”
Pfizer - IBR WP DF_Pfizer - IBR WP DF 22/02/2013 09:33 Page 1
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IBR is increasingly important in the UK with a study identifying infected animals in 96% of herds1. Causing respiratory and reproductive disease, IBR can negatively impact herd profitability.
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Within a herd some cows will be infected carriers and some will be naive and uninfected. Effective control of IBR at the herd level needs effective control at the cow level. The two Rispoval IBR Marker vaccines now
Each farm is different and IBR is a complex disease, therefore your vet can best advise on the most appropriate IBR vaccination programme for you. Reference: 1. Woodbine K.A. et al., (2009) BMC Veterinary Research 5-5
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**DF Mar p8 9 Cowmen Gibson_Layout 1 22/02/2013 08:45 Page 1
Tim Gibson farms in Bedale, North Yorkshire, milking 180 cows with three Lely robots and the farm has 140 acres of combinable crops. Tim also runs a separate dairy engineering and supplies business from the farm.
The latest roofs have just gone up and look good. I am pleased with the builder for getting on with them in what is always a bad time of year for shed building
’m sitting here finally in glorious sunshine and no, as you may well be thinking, I am not abroad in some sunny climate. Yes, for the first time in 12 months it is sunny in Bedale! As some of you may know we have an Environment Agency weather station at the end of our drive from which, periodically, I get rainfall measurements sent to me. Mind you, I’m not just sure of the accuracy of the equipment as three times in the last 12 months it has been totally submerged in flood water. The weather station provides vital information for the flood defences of York and is part of the early warning system which alerts the city when it is about to be chin deep in water. Today they are doing some ‘urgent repairs’ which consists of putting the highly technical and sophisticated equipment ‘on a concrete block’ in the hope that when it floods us out here, they can still tell it’s raining and warn York to get its boats out. Back in my grandfather’s day they had a similar system in place. He was a game keeper on the moors above Wensleydale and when it rained enough to put the water over the road at Wensley he rang the landlord in a pub in York who then had a day or so to get prepared to be flooded out. The locals still use the same
rule of thumb today, but in the high-tech world we now live in when the rain gauge at Hunters Hill is under a foot of water the EA can’t tell whether or not York will be soggy in a few days’ time. Our rainfall just out of interest this past 12 months has been 36ins. In the previous 12 months it was just 18ins. There was 20ins from August until January and the previous year in the same period we had just 4ins. The 20-year average for the area is 24ins. So nature has just corrected itself and maybe we will be set for another drought this summer. I remember fencing in March 2012 and getting sun burnt. Today it is sunny but no threat of burning, or fencing for that matter. High risk Our farm is in high risk area for catchment sensitive farming. We are offered most years some grant money for different schemes to take away rainwater from pollution sources to clean up the rivers. One of these grants is for the roofing of stock gathering and feeding areas, and we successfully applied to roof over our dry cow feeding yards. Traditionally all our cows have been fed outside in winter on yards and gradually we have now been able to cover areas to keep rain water out of the slurry and
**DF Mar p8 9 Cowmen Gibson_Layout 1 22/02/2013 09:16 Page 2
The dry cow area has been roofed over with the help of an environmental grant.
rFarm size: 350 acres rCows: 185 rMilk: 8000 litres rSoil: Mostly stone and sand rRainfall average: 24in rMilk buyer: Paynes Dairies.
divert it away. The latest roofs have just gone up and look good. I am pleased with the builder for getting on with them in what is always a bad time of year for shed building to meet the grant deadline of the end of February. April 10 is the date I have set for an open day at the farm here. It will be 10 years on since the last major one when we had about 1000 people and I have arranged a line up of the same speakers to say where we are heading in the next 10 years. Ian Potter and David Handley will both be here to say a few words about the future. The event is being supported by suppliers to the farm. I would be keen to welcome readers of Dairy Farmer along to see what changes we have made to the farm in the recent
years. We will be open from 10am till 4pm, with speakers on from 1.30 pm. The main point of interest for a lot of people will be the feeding system which has now been in operation over a year. This will be available for people to see as will the robot milking system that will have been in 12 years this summer. We hope to see plenty of you at the farm on April 10 from 10am to mark “10 years on and 10 years forward!”
Farm open day details
rCourtesy Tim Gibson with guest speakers Ian Potter and David Handley rWednesday, April 10, 10-4pm rRegister for free lunch by calling 01677 424 284, or register on arrival rSpeakers on at 1.30pm.
GREENCROP IRRIGATION Mç½ã®ÃD®ÙãùWãÙIÙÙ®¦ãÊÙ
**DF Mar p10 11 12 On Farm_Layout 1 21/02/2013 12:27 Page 1
ON FARM The 180-strong Queenscairn herd, Kelso, is run on organic lines and achieves an impressive 9000 litres a cow. Bruce Jobson went to discover the secrets behind this performance.
Cow comfort is big driver for future of organic herd
ow comfort and animal welfare are key priorities at Queenscairn, and the decision has been taken to move from cubicles to partial straw housing. Rob and Andrena Shanks took the decision to invest more than £350,000 in a new state-of-the-art straw based system for a portion of the milking herd, dry cows and in-calf heifers. Mr Shanks says: “We have low cell counts of 120, and mastitis isn’t a problem. We’ve taken that into consideration with housing the early calvers on straw. But
Queenscairn figures r180 Holsteins rCIS recorded 9200kg rSCC 120 rMilk sold 8900 litres per cow rAverage milk price
we place emphasis on increasing cow comfort and you can lose a lot of money, time and effort if a cow slips and goes down in the cubicles or has milk fever. “We’re building a 150ft long by 135ft wide span building with 20ft central feed passage. The layout incorporates a 16ft slatted alleyway on one side only for the straw-bedded milking cows, while the other side of the feed passage will be a completely straw bedded area for dry cows and in-calf heifers. “In the future, we’ve got the option to increase numbers above 200 cows and maintain two-thirds of the 33.45ppl rMargin per cow per day £5.46 rFeed conversion efficiency 1.39 litres per kilo dry matter
Rob Shanks: decided to go to straw yards for fresh calvers.
herd in the cubicles, which are bedded on sawdust. It’s important to maintain yields and margins and we aim to improve upon every detail, however small. We have a small team of three staff and we’re achieving increases in animal health and comfort, feed conversion efficiency as well as total consistency of diet,” he says. The couple took the decision to convert to organic milk production in 2005 and completed the two-year
conversion in 2008. Mr Shanks is the current chairman of the Scottish Organic Milk Producers Association and remains committed to organic milk production despite its current economic climate. “Organic farmers definitely need a premium milk price. Over the past 12 months, Queenscairn has averaged 33.45ppl rising up to 37.31ppl in December 2012. However, it’s important to view the overall
OPEN DAY – HUNTERS HILL FARM, BEDALE
JDairy Farmer readers are invited to view the latest developments at Tim Gibson’s Yorkshire farm – April 10, 10-4pm. See p5.
**DF Mar p10 11 12 On Farm_Layout 1 21/02/2013 12:27 Page 2
ON FARM organic milk price over the extended period rather than merely the peak months. Daily milk yield per cow is currently 31.6 litres and margin per cow is running at £5.46p per day, which is above the market average figure of £4.03p,” he says. The pedigree Holstein herd is CIS milk recorded and averages an impressive 9200kg per cow at 3.9% fat and 3.1% protein, with milk sales at 8900 litres per cow. Calving interval has slipped back by 25 days since going organic, and is now running at 420 days. Mr Shanks considers this as a possible consequence of reduced levels of concentrate feeding. Fer-
tility levels have been maintained with conception rates running at 60%. Queenscairn averaged more than 10,000 litres per cow prior to organic conversion and Rob considers a 10% reduction as an acceptable figure. Feed consistency has played an important part in Queenscairn’s success and the herd is fed on a Keenan diet. Mr Shanks is a long-term advocate of the system having invested in six of the company’s mixer wagons over a number of years. “Whether a farm is traditional or organic, it’s imperative to provide a consistent diet, day after day, week
Diet consistency is crucial – conversion efficiency is 1.39litres/kg DM.
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**DF Mar p10 11 12 On Farm_Layout 1 21/02/2013 12:28 Page 3
The new shed in progress -- part of the £350,000 investment.
Current daily average production per cow is running at an impressive 30+ litres a day Rob Gilchrist
after week. This in turn leads to better feed conversion and subsequent increases in production. “We feed everything through the mixer-wagon and the cows do not receive concentrates in the milking parlour,” he explains. In total, 72% of the ration is home-grown, with the only purchased feed being organic soya, organic Intamix blend and minerals. Keenan nutritionist Rob Gilchrist says: “Queenscairn feed conversion efficiency is currently 1.39 litres per kilo of dry matter, which is above the market average figure of 1.28 litres. Current daily average production per cow is running at an impressive 30+ litres a day.” Mr Shanks maintains a strong interest in the herd’s breeding programme and its
Cubicles bedded with sawdust ready for cows returning after milking.
genetic potential has increased over the years. “The herd was originally British Friesian and we used a succession of Holstein bulls which offered increases in size, dairyness and capacity as well as transmitting better quality udder traits. “In recent years, the Holstein appears to have lost the dairyness with strength trait which was the hallmark of the breed. I like cows to be robust and be able to compete at the feed barrier and be relatively
Organic diet (FW) r72% home-grown r3.5kg organic blend r2.5kg organic soya r2.5kg triticale r2.5kg oats/barley r2kg beans r2kg lucerne
trouble-free. Given the costs of rearing replacement animals, it’s important to breed cows with longevity so that they are able to make a long-term contribution to overall herd profitability. “I’ve used some traditional UK bloodlines such as Blackisle Benloyal and Whinnoch Umpire, but I’ve also used several of our own homebred bulls in order to provide more strength, as these bulls having been bred from deep-pedigree cow families,” he says. r0.6kg straw r0.15kg minerals r0.1kg limestone flour r10kg whole crop oats (24% DM) r30.5kg grass silage (28%DM)
OPEN DAY – HUNTERS HILL FARM, BEDALE JDairy Farmer readers are invited to Tim Gibson’s farm with guest speakers Ian Potter and David Handley. Details p5.
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**DF Mar p14 15 MilkWatch_Layout 1 21/02/2013 12:30 Page 1
milk watch with Boehringer Ingelheim n Lodge Farm, Bilsborrow, Lancashire, our Milk Watch farmer faces all the same problems as everyone else in dairying, plus a few additional challenges. As the farm manager at Myerscough College, Roger Leach says the farm has dual roles to fulfil as an educational and commercial establishment. This remit places added demands on the mixed farming business of almost 1000 acres which includes 230 acres of arable (growing
Meet our two Milk Watch farmers. We will be tracking them over the coming months, looking at the highs and lows of milk production.
Weather impacts on college dairy herd’s turn-out plans
winter wheat and beans for wholecrop silage); a 220head dairy herd; a unit rearing beef from the dairy herd; a suckler cow herd of Aberdeen-Angus; and about 1000 ewes. Rainfall The average annual rainfall of over 900mm was far exceeded last year when it reached 1258mm. “We have no land ploughed and will be relying totally on spring drilling for our wholecrop cereals,” he explains. Recent bad weather has
also impacted directly on the cattle and the milking herd has been unable to graze for the past two years. “Grazing is definitely something we like to do but it is becoming more and more difficult,” he says. “But even in a good year we don’t turn out before early May as we like to take a first cut of silage from all of our grassland as we never know if we’ll get the chance to cut again.” The Holstein herd produces just short of 9000 litres at 4.4% fat and 3.19% pro-
tein, although its white water contract with the Coop via Muller Wiseman Dairies sees no payment for these components. The herd’s recent challenges have included problems with cows’ feet and an outbreak of mastitis, both now having been satisfactorily addressed. Last summer’s outbreak of mastitis was attributed largely to E coli and the source of the problem found in the strawed calving shed. While every case was treated immediately with
Grazing-based mixed herd’s biggest challe
ilk Watch farmer James Willcocks has adapted his farming precisely to suit his farm. Located about 10 miles south of Bodmin Moor, he says the system he runs at Tregleath Farm, Washaway, is neither fully extensive nor a traditional British set-up. “We are grazing-based and some of the herd will be out from the end of February until Christmas in a good year,” he says. “But we also feed two tonnes of concentrates.”
The result is an average yield approaching 8000 litres at 4.4% fat and 3.3% protein from his 280-head mixed breed herd. Milk is destined for cream and ice cream at nearby Trewithen Dairy. From a family which has been on the largely rented, 570-acre farm for 25 years, James took over full responsibility on his father’s retirement around six years ago. Beginning with a Holstein base, he felt the breed was increasingly unsuited to the farm, where long distances
James Willcocks says mastitis cases are always dealt with swiftly.
had to be walked each day, and now operates a three way crossing programme. . However, describing the biggest challenge as maintaining the quality of grazed
grass throughout the season, he says it’s easy to overestimate its feed value. A total mixed ration which includes equal parts of grass and maize silage
**DF Mar p14 15 MilkWatch_Layout 1 21/02/2013 12:31 Page 2
SPONSORED SERIES A word from Boehringer Ingelheim rTHE news of MRSA being detected in the UK dairy herd at 1
the end of 2012 has again
along with discussions about
sponsible Use of Medicines in
are becoming less effective in animals and man , has given 2
enough cause for concern for
an increasing number of farmers to be asking their vets for
dation,” says Roger. Cell counts now run at 159,000 cells/ml while mastitis rates are a reasonable 17.9 cases/100 cows/year, but since the herd is benchmarked against all the dedicated Co-op producers, there is plenty of incentive to keep on improving.
llenge is grass quality and wholecrop wheat with triticale is regularly fed to the cows, whether inside or out.
Block calving Calving is split into two 10week blocks, the first in spring from the end of February until April, and the autumn block from late August until October. “Almost half of the herd is dried off now, but it’s the calm before the storm, as 50 heifers will calve before the middle of March,” he says. The farm’s operation, run
by James with his wife Kiki, and a herdsman, tractor driver and student, was chosen as the Dairy Farmer of the Future in 2011. Cell counts are around the 150-180,000 cells/ml and its mastitis incidence has seen just three cases recorded in the last month. Mastitis cases are always dealt with swiftly, with an intra-mammary tube and injectable antibiotic as well as an anti-inflammatory. “We use all three products as the recovery rate is so much better,” says James.
Guidelines about the proper
use of antimicrobials have
whether or not antimicrobials
both intramammary and injectable antibiotics as well as an anti-inflammatory, the decision was taken to completely change the shed. “It was dank and dark in there, without good airflow, and we’ve been able to move all the cows out and give them better accommo-
might be better left in reserve.
brought the prudent use of antibiotics into the news. This,
Roger Leach says changing cow accommodation has improved health.
preparations ‘first line’ which
What both vets and farmers
been produced by RUMA (ReAgriculture) which is a collection of agricultural organisa-
tions representing every stage of the ‘farm to fork’ process.
They describe how best to
make use of the antimicrobials we have3.
The British Veterinary Associ-
want is to have effective antibi-
ation has also published guide-
and into the future, so does
within the cattle industry.
otics to treat disease both now
this talk mean this status might
lines on the use of antibiotics
be at risk?
still be antibiotics to treat bac-
routine treatment of mastitis is
The answer is no, there will
terial diseases when needed, however there may be a few
changes in the recommenda-
Choosing the right tube for the an area where we might
change our behaviour in future. Working with your vet, you
tions about which antibiotics to
might choose to determine the
bacteriology testing of current
use and how best to make use
most appropriate tube by the
mastitis cases rather than just
now described as ‘critically im-
some high somatic cell count
tions considered to be a last
vet can then guide you to
Certain specific antibiotics are
portant’ and these are preparaline of defence against certain serious human infections.
These will need to be used
more carefully to make the best use of them. Take a look in your medicine cupboard and talk to
Bacteriological testing of
cows might also be wise. Your choose a first line intramam-
mary tube that provides a high level of cure while offering a clear treatment path for the future.
your vet about whether you are
routinely using some antibiotic
This article is brought to you by Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, makers of Ubrolexin®. Advice on the use of Ubrolexin or other therapies should be sought from your veterinary surgeon. Ubrolexin contains cefalexin monohydrate and kanamycin monosulphate. POM-V. Further information available from Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Bracknell, Berkshire, RG12 8YS. Email: email@example.com. Date of preparation: Feb 2013. AHD 7489. Withdraw milk from supply for human consumption for 120 hours after the last Ubrolexin treatment. Use Medicines Responsibly (www.noah.co.uk /responsible). www.mastitis.co.uk. References: 1. Paterson et al (2012). Euro Surveill. 17(50). 2. A summary of the proceedings and discussions, VLA and GVS/AGV Nat. Conf., Uni. of Warwick, Sep 2010. 3. RUMA guidelines. Accessed on January 17, 2013. http://www.ruma.org.uk/guidelines/antimicrobials/long/attle%20antimicrobials%20long.pdf
**DF Mar p16 17 Potter _Layout 1 22/02/2013 09:07 Page 1
This month, Ian Potter takes a look at the David and Goliath struggle of one enterprising Sussex dairy farmer as the big guns of the FSA start to bear down on him.
The FSA has recently sent both Selfridges and the Hooks a summons banning further sales
ow I don’t claim to be an aficionado, but those who drink milk straight from the bulk tank reckon it tastes much better than normal homogenised, pasteurised milk. The customers of Philip and Steven Hook certainly do. The Hooks farm 180 acres and 70 organic dairy cows, and in April 2007 Phil Hook mentioned he had started retailing their own unpasteurised milk at 75p per pint. Today, the Hooks still milk 70 cows but their raw milk business has about 3000 customers, both local and via online sales. All are given a health warning it is unpasteurised milk, but some buy Hook’s milk under doctors’ orders. One 82-year old customer says he has 16 pints of raw milk every week following removal of part of his colon. Others claim it clears up eczema, while others are lactose intolerant but can drink it. Then the Hooks had the opportunity to rent a small space in the prestigious Selfridges store in Oxford Street, London. In 2011 they installed a self-service unpasteurised milk vending machine. Westminster City Council’s Environmental Health sanctioned the Selfridges machine, and an identical machine had been approved and installed in Canterbury only three years earlier. It has been an exciting time for this small family farm, who were the centre piece of a
90-minute feature film called ‘The Moo Man’, which looked at a year on the family’s farm and was selected as a film in the USA’s Sundance Film Festival – see www.themooman.co.uk. But step forward the muscle men at the Food Standards Agency (FSA). First it tried to stop the family selling their unpasteurised milk online, but failed. Undaunted, though, the FSA has recently sent both Selfridges and the Hooks a summons banning further sales. The FSA states that the Hooks have ‘breached food hygiene regulations’. This opens up a whole heap of questions. Is the FSA prosecuting a small family farm and Selfridges for publicity, and because they are easy targets? Would they have been so keen to prosecute if the vending machine had been located in a Tesco store? And where does the FSA’s vice-chairman, Tim Bennett, sit in all of this when the prosecution is discussed at FSA board meetings? Now not only is Tim Bennett vice-chairman of that organization, he is chairman of DairyCo, and thus represents dairy farmers. The Hooks pay levy to DairyCo so, in effect, he is authorising the FSA to prosecute one of his levy paying members. Was he involved in the decision to prosecute, for example? Answers please. And while this issue affects just one dairy farmer, where would Mr Bennett sit if, say, 10, 20, 100 or 1000 farmers were involved in something the FSA didn’t like, or (heaven forbid) a food scare or scandal like the horse
**DF Mar p16 17 Potter _Layout 1 22/02/2013 12:50 Page 2
‘Step forward the muscle men at the FSA…’
rIan is a specialist milk quota and entitlement broker. Comments please to firstname.lastname@example.org
meat one were to hit the dairy industry? He’d have a couple of pretty uncomfortable feet in each camp I would imagine. The proverbial fans at the FSA now need a decade of servicing to recover from the volume of excrement that has hit them from the horse meat scandal. And yet, incredibly, one of its priorities appears to be prosecuting one small dairy farmer. The reason I bring this up is the parallel between this and the Gangmasters Licensing Authority’s court case against ‘prominent’ dairy farmers (its word not mine). Here, a six-figure sum was spent on attempting to prosecute a handful of dairy farmers in a three-year battle, before the Judge gave the farmers an absolute discharge last week. The NFU’s headline was that the GLA were ‘heavy-handed’ and I think the FSA could well see history repeat itself with the Hook case. Fingers crossed that a bit of common sense prevails. Last month, I was invited to chair the question time at the dairy breakout session at the AHDB’s Annual Outlook Conference in Westminster. Independent international dairy consultant Mark Voorbergen was bullish for global dairy demand during the next decade, which will outpace production. That’s with the exception of the EU. In the two years post-2014 and the ending of milk quotas he believed we may, for that short period, have too much milk on our hands. He posed the question as to why would UK farmers invest in growth if their milk is sold into a crowded domestic market with limited growth opportunities? This was pointing to the fact we are obsessed with
our fresh liquid domestic market and have very limited opportunities to access the exciting global market. He then stated that ‘being late is never a reason to do nothing’ – in reference to the UK getting in on the export act. The DairyCo Milkbench results for the year ended March 31, 2012, were launched at that same meeting. The report itself, I am afraid, is extremely complex and probably only of best value to the 315 farmers who contributed, and thus who understand Milkbench. The average cost of production at 28.8ppl at March 2012 excludes any cost for a farmer’s management time and hence its value is questionable. Farmer wages are a sensitive topic, with a West Midlands farmer costed in at only £8.90/hour, or less than £18,000 a year. This is for his manual work only with nothing for management which comes ‘out of the profit’. A week later I sat with a Welsh CARA dairy bench consultant who presented his annual costings. He said his best farmers could command a salary (including management time) of £62,500 a year. And he said his costs were actual, while some of DairyCo’s are imputed costs and contain assumptions. For example, he claimed one of his top 25% performing farmers also participated in Milkbench and the results were ‘poles apart’, and he believed Milkbench had too many ‘let’s pretend’ figures included. The question then is are the results useable and is the data accurate? More questions for DairyCo, I’m afraid. But hey, you pay them to be accountable!
**DF Mar p18 19 20 Breeding_Layout 1 22/02/2013 12:52 Page 1
Recent work at Liverpool Vet School is showing physical traits such as locomotion and foot angle can predispose cows to digital dermatitis, and a bull index for this might help combat this devastating disease. Ann Hardy reports.
Can sire selection help breed dermatitis out of our herds? reeding cattle that are resistant to digital dermatitis is a worthwhile goal to be aimed for, and a start in the process can be made by concentrating on the traits in existing bull proofs. This message comes from Dr Robert Smith, senior
lecturer in livestock health and welfare at the University of Liverpool’s School of Veterinary Science, who says a study carried out at their own Wood Park Farm revealed strong links between digital dermatitis and leg and feet conformation. And since leg and feet composite, foot angle and
locomotion – found to be positively correlated with digital dermatitis – are all published as breeding indexes as part of a bull’s proof, their use in sire selection could potentially reduce the incidence of the disease. Significant differences in the incidence of digital dermatitis among daughters
of different bulls indicated daughters of some sires were far superior to others in their apparent resistance to the disease. Affected “Some cows were constantly affected with digital dermatitis while others were never affected,” says Dr Smith, adding
Is CATTLE PNEUMONIA costing you AGAIN and AGAIN and AGAIN? 1. Andrews, BCVA 2000, Vol 8, Part 2 2. Based on time lung concentrations above MIC90 for the licensed pathogens ZUPREVO 180 mg/ml solution for injection for cattle. Active substance: Tildipirosin 180 mg/ml. Zuprevo® is property of Intervet International B.V. or affiliated companies or licensors and are protected by copyrights, trademarks and other intellectual property laws. Copyright © 2011 Intervet International B.V., a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc., Whitehouse Station, NJ, USA. All rights reserved. Legal category POM-V Always read the package insert before usage of the product for more information. Further information is available from MSD Animal Health, Walton Manor, Walton, Milton Keynes MK7 7AJ. Tel: 01908 685685 • Fax: 01908 685555 Email: email@example.com Internet: www.msd-animal-health.co.uk
**DF Mar p18 19 20 Breeding_Layout 1 22/02/2013 12:52 Page 2
BREEDING The development of digital dermatitis
No digital dermatitis.
overall, the disease affected 74% of the university’s herd at some point during the studies. “Some bulls had up to a 100% incidence of the disease amongst their daughters while others had
Month two: Starting to develop.
Month four: Developing.
an incidence of nearer 50%,” he says. He adds the proportion of daughters which had no lesions at all on a single inspection varied significantly between sires. The particular finding
across the university’s herd of a link between digital dermatitis and the three type traits (legs and feet composite, foot angle and locomotion) corroborates ongoing population studies which have been under-
Month six: Classic digital lesion.
taken by Holstein UK for the last decade or more. But whereas the university’s work looked in detail at the foot health of some 100 animals in the trial, the breed society analysed less detailed
Ask your vet about the benefits of ZUPREVO – the pneumonia treatment that works longer in the lungs2
Starts fast, works longer From the experts in lung health:
Always use medicines responsibly. Please see noah.co.uk/responsible for more information Zuprevo solution for injection for cattle is available from your veterinary surgeon, from whom advice should be sought.
**DF Mar p18 19 20 Breeding_Layout 1 22/02/2013 12:53 Page 3
BREEDING TechTalk by Rosebeck Proper Preparation Prevents …!! Following on from last month’s column on the highs and lows of sand cubicles, an enthusiastic response has led me to expand on the importance of pre-milking preparation and not just for cows bedded on sand. Cleaning the teats before unit application is vital but it has to be part of a bigger picture aimed at protecting udder health and helping produce high quality milk from cows capable of sustaining a long life in production. A quick thought! Do you make genetic selections for slow milking cows? I would expect NO. Do you have slow milking cows? Why can a heifer give you 18 to 20+ litres of milk/ milking in early lactation and milk out in 3.5 to 4 minutes, yet at drying off take over 5.5 to 6 minutes to give you 8 or 9 litres/milking? She was not a slow milker at calving, she has been turned into one! Trials in the US proved that employing an extended pre-milking preparation routine versus a quick dry/ medicated wipe and apply method resulted in cows milking out approximately 2 minutes quicker at fourth lactation than those that had received just quick preparation. Oxytocin takes 60 to 90 seconds to reach the udder and stimulate true milk let down, yet its effect is now proven to last up to 4 minutes. So rushing to apply the unit as early as possible will lead to over milking, not because the units are left on too long, but because the cow is being over milked at the start of milking when no let down has taken place. To create long lasting cows with healthy teat skin and teat ends, extend and improve your pre-milking routines, you have plenty of time and cows invariably milk out quicker if correctly prepped. Pre-foaming or automatic rotary brushing/scrubbing, followed by stripping and dry wiping before unit application can fit the bill exceptionally well. Remember oxytocin lasts up to 4 minutes, so prep enough cows to give milk let down a chance. As stated last month, combine this with very fast acting germicides, proven to not only kill the first bug in 10 seconds, but to complete a thorough kill within 12 to 15 seconds and you have the ideal routine for quick milking cows, long lasting cows, good milk hygiene standards and optimum financial return per litre. Neil can be contacted by email: firstname.lastname@example.org For further information call VOLAC International on 01642 718814 or visit www.rosebeckservices.co.uk
records of hundreds of thousands of animals. “Holstein UK have a snapshot of a lot of animals and we have a real focus on a few animals,” says Dr Smith. “The fact they are showing the same thing is a good thing as farmers can clearly select for these traits and could improve the incidence of digital dermatitis in their herds.” Locomotion Recommending that paying attention to a bull’s locomotion index would be the most effective of all, he says it is also logical a steep foot angle mitigates against the disease as more of the cow’s skin will be kept out of slurry. But geneticists widely agree there is no better way to improve any trait than to select for precisely that trait rather than a proxy, so a bull index for digital dermatitis would lead to the highest level of improvement. Michael Parkinson, who heads the classification team for Holstein UK, says on this basis the society would introduce a
Dr Robert Smith: bull trait selection.
PTA (Predicted Transmitting Ability) for digital dermatitis and he was hopeful this would be in place by the end of the year. Bloodlines “You’re unlikely to select a bull because of his daughters’ resistance to digital dermatitis but it makes sense to use bloodlines that will make your herd more resistant if you can,” he says. Until the introduction of the index for the disease itself later this year, dairy farmers can make some headway by choosing bulls which transmit good legs and feet and excellent locomotion. **The work at Wood Park Farm was undertaken by student Claire Whittle.
Digital Dermatitis (DD) facts rLameness is probably economically as important as mastitis rOn average, a lame cow is estimated to lose over 400 litres of milk per lactation rDD accounts for 15-20% of lameness in UK cattle rDD primarily appears as a ‘strawberry like’ lesion between the bulbs of the heels rDD may also involve the
interdigital space rDD commonly occurs in the hind feet although fore feet may be affected rDD is thought to be associated with Treponema bacteria rRisk factors include wet conditions, intensive systems and housing rPrevalence is lower in cows at pasture than in cows on concrete or straw.
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**DF Mar p22 23 Forage Watch 1_Layout 1 22/02/2013 13:56 Page 1
SPONSORED SERIES In the first in this sponsored series helping you get the most out of your conserved feeds, we look at early season planning with New Breed UK’s Richard Rolfe and Mole Valley Farmers’ Graham Ragg. with Micron Bio-Systems hile we can pray for good weather this year, there is no guarantee we will get it. However, there are many areas where some early planning can help ensure both the quality and quantity of any crop are as good as they can be. “First decide how many acres you need for silage to provide enough forage to see you through the next winter,” says New Breed UK’s Richard Rolfe. “A dairy cow will consume about 10.5 tonnes of silage based on 12kg dry matter intake over a 210-day winter with a silage dry matter of 25%. This will increase to about 15 tonnes per cow if you are planning to buffer feed,” he adds. “Aim to maximise first cut acreage,” says Graham Ragg of Mole Valley Farmers. “Even a modest increase of 10 acres of additional first
Are you ready for the coming silage season?
Milk production depends on getting silage making right.
cut can make a considerable difference to silage output. If this 10 acres is cut twice more through the season it can supply 20t/acre or 200t of extra silage. It can often pay to keep cows on a tighter stocking rate at turnout to allow for this extra 10 acres of silage.” The table below shows the range of dry matter intakes for a dairy herd. Working backwards you can determine the silage acreage needed. A cow consuming 12kg dry matter per day translates into 48kg fresh silage per day at 25%DM.
Range of dry matter intakes Dry Matter Intake (kg/head/day) range Milking cows 10-15 Dry cows 8-10 Heifers (1-2 years) 7-10 Heifers (0-1 year) 2-6
Over a 210-day winter, this equates to around 10 tonnes of fresh silage or around 0.5ha per cow in milk (assuming 18t/ha fresh silage). Silage fields Another thing worth doing is to walk your silage fields. Molehills, stones and unevenness need to be addressed. “Also assess your swards for composition of perennial ryegrass so a reseeding or repair strategy can be formulated,” suggests Mr Ragg. “If lower than 50% perennial ryegrass, a complete reseed should be considered. And broad leaved weeds may need chemical control if over 5% of the sward. “Do not graze silage ground with sheep or apply slurry after the end of Janu-
ary prior to first cut. Sheep grazing after this date will reduce yield, and slurry applications later than the end of January will result in harmful bacteria on the grass which can give rise to the wrong kind of fermentation in the clamp,” says Mr Ragg. “Apply first cut fertiliser as soon as conditions allow,” advises Mr Rolfe. “First cut silages tend to produce more milk than second cuts even when they have the same analysis, and make sure any remainder is applied at least six weeks prior to cutting,” he says. “Nitrogen levels for the first cut need to be around 80 to 100 units/acre (100 to 125kg/ha) to maximise first cut yield, which is usually the highest yielding and
**DF Mar p22 23 Forage Watch 1_Layout 1 22/02/2013 13:56 Page 2
best quality,” adds Mr Ragg. If you are going to use a contractor, contact him early so he is aware of your likely requirements. Then check the clamp for repairs and fill gateways with hardcore. Make sure you have
enough silage sheets to fully overlap the side walls and top of the pit, and if possible use of vacuum film to cover the grass. Order all consumables well ahead. “Use a well proven additive to maximise silage performance and reduce dry matter loses,” advises Mr Ragg. Even in perfect harvesting conditions, the use of a multi-component inoculant containing lactic acid producing bacteria and enzymes, such as the Advance range from Micron BioSystems, can lead to significant improvements in silage quality.
Lactic acid producing bacteria ensure a rapid and efficient fermentation – the faster the fermentation is completed, the more nutrients will be retained. Look for product that contains a combination of lactic acid producing bacteria to dominate the full fermentation across the pH range. Enzyme benefits The inclusion of enzymes has two potential benefits. Firstly, they break down complex carbohydrates such as starch and cellulose into sugars which help promote more lactic acid and so aid the fermenta-
tion process – particularly useful when sugars are limited as will be the case where crops are harvested in wet conditions. Secondly, enzymes have been shown to have a positive effect on digestibility, particularly after storage of between 30 to 60 days. “Finally, aim to cut a week earlier. By mentally preparing for an early cut it allows you more flexibility as the season progresses. After all, it is the quality and quantity of the silage that underpins your dairy performance,” says Mr Rolfe.
**DF Mar p24 25 Vet's View_Layout 1 21/02/2013 12:33 Page 1
Surprisingly we don’t have all the answers to diseases
This month, Chris Watson of the Wood Veterinary Group, Gloucestershire, confesses vets do not have all the answers, with some diseases down to control rather than treatment.
like to think I have got a practical approach and an answer to tackling most diseases I see in cattle practice. My clients will usually agree I do always have an answer – but not necessarily the one they want to hear. However, there are a few conditions which on some days it seems as if we have not got a solution. The first of these is digital dermatitis. This condition now affects well above 90% of dairy herds accounting for 25% of all cases of lameness in its simple skin form and, more worryingly, the chronic horn form. There is little prospect of eradicating this disease so everything is down to control. Foot baths are the front line and are now for lameness what teat dipping is for mastitis. This is something which has to be done routinely as the risk is ever present. There are broadly speaking two types of bath formulation – antibiotics which specifically kill the spirochaete organism or the skin disinfectants which cleanse everything on the skin surface. Antibiotics
have a ‘residual’ effect and can be used every four weeks or so but skin disinfectants have to be used daily in most cases. So what are the key things to remember? ■ Treat all cows – especially the dry cows. ■ Use the right product at the right dilution. ■ Clean the bath frequently. ■ Use enough solution for the number of cows and faecal contamination. ■ Use sufficient depth to cover the foot. Digital dermatitis will not
spread or infect cows without slurry or moisture, so keeping cows’ feet clean and dry is a key part of reducing the exposure so there is less of a problem in the first place. The second thing we seem unable to do much about is twinning. The rate of twinning in dairy cattle used to be about 5% or less of all cows calving, but with the selection for milk
yield this has increased to 10% incidence or more in many herds. Most would agree twins are bad news for the dairy cow, with the increased health risks at and after calving damaging the milk yield and of course increased mortality and freemartins in the calves. Some 30 years ago Hillsborough research station
**DF Mar p24 25 Vet's View_Layout 1 22/02/2013 10:08 Page 2
VETâ€™S VIEW Management rDigital dermatitis: Good footbath technique, remember the dry cows rTwins: Early postcalving checks rSchmallenberg: Check pregnancies again. were developing techniques for improving the health of the cow carrying twins by identifying them early and adopting different feeding techniques in late lactation and during the dry period. This work has been repeated with modern cattle genetics in the US and has failed
miserably to achieve any improvement. Increased feeding of the twin-bearing cow during the dry period by providing an increased energy dense ration actually produced more problems than trying to feed them normally. There was just as much peri-calving disease and they were more likely to be ketotic and have mastitis in the subsequent lactation. So it is bad news again for twins and all we can really do is make sure we have good treatment and care protocols after calving to reduce the health impact of twins.
My third problem is Schmallenberg virus. It is difficult to know how much attention to give this virus as we still do not know the full extent or scale of any clinical disease it may produce. Outbreak Certainly there has been at least one clinical outbreak in our practice with dairy cows scouring, showing milk drop and pyrexia which is thought to be possibly associated with Schmallenberg. Also on a few farms we have seen the loss of early pregnancies in a cluster of cows at or around the same
time, which again would be typical of this sort of virus sweeping in and damaging the foetus. The pregnancies were all diagnosed as being too small at the PD session and currently many are being lost when subsequently rechecked. Some are progressing but I cannot tell if there is damage to the calf. The worst thing will be pregnancies being lost and not found till later and losing precious time. A vaccine is likely to become available but as yet we have no details, and we are at a loss to suggest how and if it should be used in cattle herds.
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**DF Mar p26 27 F&G Brassicas_Layout 1 21/02/2013 13:07 Page 1
FORAGE & GRASSLAND Much grazing was damaged by last year’s disastrously wet season and subsequent productivity is likely to suffer when the land dries out. Helen Mathieu, of British Seed Houses, tells us of one way round the problem.
Brassica break offers solution to reseeding Costs of production for summer sown hybrid brassicas
Spray off old sward (including glyphosate) * Seed and fertiliser Fertiliser spreading Drilling and rolling Total production cost Cost of feed at 5tDM/ha
Estimated average cost
£43/ha £100/ha £20/ha £45/ha £208/ha £42/tDM or 4.2p/kgDM
*A second spray after the brassicas may be required and would in this case be included in the cost of the grass reseed.
ccording to Helen Mathieu of British Seed Houses, establishing these fast-growing crops after an early grazing or first cut of silage could provide summer strip grazing of around 5tDM/ha before leaving land clean and available
for a timely autumn reseed. Bred in New Zealand, the two kale/rape hybrid varieties currently available – Swift and Redstart – have proven credentials in the UK as a summer catch-crop or for out-wintering situations. Cost of production for this crop type is estimated at between 4p/kg and 5p/kg of dry matter for a single
Cost of production for brassicas is estimated at between 4p/kg and 5p/kg of dry matter for a single short-term summer grazing.
**DF Mar p26 27 F&G Brassicas_Layout 1 21/02/2013 13:08 Page 2
FORAGE & GRASSLAND short-term summer grazing, with dry matter content typically 12-14% and energy at 10-13MJ/kg ME. “In the current situation when dairy farmers are faced with some tough decisions on which fields to prioritise for reseeding – and when – the hybrid brassicas offer an attractive option for some of the ground,” she says. Critical time “Following grass with a grass reseed in the spring does take land out of production at a critical time, and few can probably afford this at the moment. The real advantage of using brassicas is you can utilise early season grazing or take a first cut, and still gain additional forage during the summer from the strip grazing. The system also creates a grass break, so will achieve very good pest and weed control and provide an opportunity to sort out any soil structure problems that will otherwise impede grassland production in the future,” she adds. Under a procedure recommended by British Seed Houses, early season grazing or a first cut would be followed in May or June by spraying off the old sward with glyphosate and then direct drilling or over-seeding the hybrid brassica. Attention to detail on aspects such as soil nutrients and disease control will ensure best results. “I always recommend soil testing to establish precisely what a new crop requires,” adds Ms Mathieu, “but as a general guide soils should be at a pH of 5.8-6.5, with nitrogen applied at drilling of 50kg-80kg/ha, and P and K to achieve a soil index of 2. “Redstart is the best variety for a short term break crop, and this should be drilled in conditions that allow good soil-to-seed contact at between 5kg/ha and 7.5kg/ha, with seed ideally being treated to protect against in-
sect pests and seedling diseases such as fusarium. “With good establishment and optimum growing conditions, the crop will be ready to strip graze in about eight weeks, with 5t/DM/ha achievable.” Options thereafter are to spray again after an initial strip grazing before ploughing up for an autumn reseed, or if time and conditions allow, taking a second grazing from the potential regrowth that will generate from hybrid brassicas.
Helen Mathieu: soil testing recommended.
**DF Mar p28 29 F&G Stocks_Layout 1 21/02/2013 12:35 Page 1
FORAGE & GRASSLAND Forage stocks are under severe pressure on many farms. To help tackle the problem, Dairy Group consultant Christine Pedersen tells us the first step is a forage audit.
Forage stocks shortage can be downward spiral
ndertaking a forage audit means you need to assess both how much forage you have got in stock in the form of hay, straw, and silages (and its feed value), but going forward you will need to work out how much forage you expect to produce in 2013. After calculating the forage requirements for the next 15-18 months (minimum), then reconcile forage stocks and potential production with requirements, and this will help to identify any potential shortfalls. Planning is normally in
tonnes of dry matter and the example shown indicates a good stock of grass silage, but a limited stock of maize which is being rationed. (See Table 1). Where supplies are tight, there are steps you can take to reduce your requirement for forage. For a start, target your best quality forage to your most productive cows â€“ if you do not group cows, consider it. Passengers Then consider the passengers in your herd and review at what point culls become uneconomic. Review rations, particu-
Christine Pederson: take stock.
larly for youngstock, and consider replacing some or all of the silage with straw if available (ensure a balanced ration is maintained). Also look at increasing your forage availability. The first step is to minimise any waste. Review the feed out process to identify points
Table 1: Forage production and requirement 2012â€“2013 Yield Opening Oct Nov Dec (t DM/acre) Grass 1st PRG 1.8 1st PP 1.4 2nd PRG 1.3 3rd PRG 1.3 Production (t DM) 0 0 0 Requirement (t DM) 29 29 29 Stocks (t DM) 329 300 272 243 Maize/W crop Maize 4.0 W crop 3.5 Maize/WC production (t DM) 0 0 0 Maize/WC requirement (t DM) 15 15 15 Maize/WC stocks 159 144 128 113 Total production (t DM) 0 0 0 Total required (t DM) 44 44 44 Total stocks (t DM) 488 444 400 356
Jan Feb Mar Apr
Acres harvested 0 0 0 0 30 31 32 16 214 183 151 135 0 16 97 0 46 310
0 17 80 0 48 263
0 17 63 0 49 214
0 9 54 0 25 189
where losses occur. Many silage clamps have more waste than considered acceptable. Reduce waste by demanding excellent clamp face management. Once you have done that, you may still have to buy in. Investigate the local market for forage and/or use moist feeds where available and cost effective. Before you commit to purchasing either, make sure you know the quality of what you are buying and how it will fit into rations. Think about the practicalities of transport and storage and factor potential losses into the price you want to pay. May Jun
90 162 15 282
48 62 18 312
20 26 22 316
0 9 45 162 24 327
0 14 267
0 8 37 0 23 304
0 12 25 62 30 337
0 12 13 26 33 329
0 22 295
53 212 15 210 212 37 504
**DF Mar p28 29 F&G Stocks_Layout 1 21/02/2013 12:36 Page 2
FORAGE & GRASSLAND Table 2 Maize growing cost Dry matter yield (t/ha) Value at £100/t DM Growing cost (£/ha) Growing margin (£/ha)
Many farms may come out of winter with low or no forage stocks, and as a consequence may be forced to feed 2013 first cut through summer and autumn, impacting on forage stocks for next winter. Break this cycle by planning now for 2013/14 feeding. One thing to consider is wholecrop silage (using home-grown or purchased cereal crops) to supplement grass and maize silage. While there is still an op-
No plastic 12 1200 850 350
Plastic 15 1500 1150 350
portunity to sow these, spring cereal wholecrop is likely to be inferior in quality and quantity to an autumn grown crop or maize silage. However, a springgrown crop may be justified to fill a gap between July and maize harvest for summer/autumn calving groups where autumn sown crops are unavailable. Assess your maize silage – consider growing an area of an earlier maturing variety which can be cut before the
main maize crop. Typically very early varieties may be ready to harvest two to three weeks earlier which again may be useful for summer/autumn calving groups. Plastic As part of this it may be worth looking at maize grown under plastic – especially in marginal areas. The typical yield benefit is two to three tonnes of dry matter per hectare, with the extra cost including plastic at £300/ha. The cost per tonne grown is similar, but the earlier harvest could make a big difference to forage supply, especially for autumn
calving herds. (See Table 2). It may also be worth looking at other forages. Consider whether there is a place for things like fodder beet, lucerne or kale. Would you be able to grow and harvest such crops? Finally, make sure grazing is ready – check fences and water supply now to make best use of an early turn out if the ground conditions allow. Remember last year when there was excellent grazing available in February and March. Consider splitting the milking group with lower yielders (below 25 litres) having access to grazing only plus parlour concentrates.
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**DF Mar p30 31 F&G Biotal _Layout 1 21/02/2013 12:44 Page 1
FORAGE & GRASSLAND
Farmers looking to maximise yield from grazed grass must be wary of problems with rumen health at turnout, particularly acidosis, according to John Bax of Lallemand International.
Beware acidosis can be problem even at turnout
any producers assume once cows are turned out onto high quality spring grass the nutritional challenges associated with winter feeding are over. “However, recent survey work has shown this may not necessarily be the case. Studies in the south of Ireland and Australia show rumen acidosis and its associated metabolic problems are significant concerns with grazed cows even when very low levels of concentrate are offered,” says John Bax.
Rumen acidosis is a condition which occurs when the pH in the rumen drops below 5.8. This happens when the rumen microbes ferment sugars and starches to produce large amounts of volatile fatty acids (VFAs) and lactic acid at a faster rate than the cow can use them. It is generally recognised cows with a rumen pH of less than 5.8 are suffering from sub acute rumen acidosis (SARA), while cows with a pH less than 5.5 are clinically acidotic. “The cow’s response is to try and buffer these rumen acids with saliva. This is why
Lush fresh pasture presents a double challenge as it is high in sugars and low in structural fibre Jon Bax
structural fibre is so important in the diet as it stimulates cudding which in turn promotes the production of more saliva and increases buffering,” adds Mr Bax. Common pre-disposing factors for causing acidosis are diets low in NDF, low in physically effective NDF and higher in non-fibre carbohydrate (NFC) which includes the more rapidly fermentable components such as sugars and starch. “Lush fresh pasture presents a double challenge as it is high in sugars and low in structural fibre and so accelerates VFA output and re-
**DF Mar p30 31 F&G Biotal _Layout 1 21/02/2013 12:45 Page 2
FORAGE & GRASSLAND
Lush pastures accelerate VFA output and reduce saliva production.
duces saliva production. Even low quantities of concentrate fed at milking time can exacerbate the acidosis risk,” he claims. In a recent study in Eire, 12 grazing herds were monitored to establish the degree of metabolic challenge. The level of concentrate supplementation was low, less than 2kg/cow/day, so conditions such as SARA would not be expected to be a problem. Of the 12 herds, 75% were found to be showing signs of
acidosis. Six were defined as at high risk with more than 33% of the cows having a rumen pH less than 5.8. Three herds were suffering from SARA when more than 25% of the cows had a rumen pH less than 5.5. Only three herds were defined as normal with fewer than 33% of cows having a rumen pH less than 5.8. When the data was looked at on a cow basis, rather than as a herd, over half the cows were affected by acidosis with 11%
acidotic and 42% sub-acute acidotic. In a similar study in Australia, 800 grazing cows from 100 herds were monitored in detail. A similar pattern was observed with 10% of the cows acidotic, 30% sub-acute acidotic and the remainder defined as non-acidotic. “The consequence of acidosis will be reduced milk yields, poorer fertility and an increased risk of lameness. So how do we tackle the problem? NDF proportions “One option is to increase the proportion of physically effective NDF in the diet. This might be by providing straw, buffer feeding with maize or wholecrop silage, or using concentrates higher in digestible fibre rather than starch, perhaps an HDF concentrate or similar,” he says. “Another proven approach
is to feed a rumen specific live yeast. This helps the rumen microflora cope more successfully with changes in diet, such as those which occur at turnout, by stimulating the lactic acid utilising bacteria in the rumen which helps remove the acid build up. Live yeast also helps with the growth of fibre digesting bacteria which improves fibre utilisation and reduces the rate of decline in rumen pH. “Grazing trials have shown Biotal SC Gold live yeast can improve NDF digestibility and limit the impact of grazed grass on rumen pH by beneficially changing the populations of rumen microflora. As well as improving short-term animal responses such as milk yield, there are longer term health benefits to improving rumen function in grazing cows,” declares Mr Bax.
Your herd needs dependable forage maize feed. So choose Poncho seed treatment. Poncho protects the crop by controlling major seedling pests. It encourages early, healthy growth and enables every plant to capture maximum sunlight. Co-apply with Mesurol and you’ll get even better establishment and biomass: Mesurol increased Poncho’s 70% biomass boost by a further 50%*. It also H]VPKZJVZ[S`YLZV^PUNI`WYL]LU[PUNIPYKKHTHNLHUKJVU[YVSZMYP[Å` .L[TVYLKY`TH[[LYPU[OLJSHTWHUKTPSRPU[OL[HUR Talk to your distributor, call 0845 609 2266 or 01223 226644, or see www.bayercropscience.co.uk/poncho.
*1 trial vs. untreated, 2009. Poncho® and Mesurol® are registered trademarks of Bayer. Poncho contains clothianidin. Mesurol contains methiocarb. Use plant protection products safely. Always read the label and product information before use. Pay attention to the risk indications and follow the safety precautions on the label. For further information, please visit www.bayercropscience.co.uk or call Bayer Assist on 0845 609 2266 or 01223 226644. © Bayer CropScience Limited 2013.
**DF Mar p32 Machinery_Layout 1 22/02/2013 12:16 Page 1
FORAGE & GRASSLAND From pasture restoration to forage handling, a host of new grassland equipment has been launched ready for the coming season. Martin Rickatson reports on the highlights.
Foraging kit designed to make the job easier Slit injector allows for improved nutrient use JIntended for mounting onto the firm’s six-metre hydraulic-folding Sward Slitter, Opico’s new Slit Injector is designed to allow improved nutrient use from slurry applied to grassland. Because the injector delivers slurry down to the root zone, it is claimed to give an estimated nutrient efficiency of 85% as opposed to 20% for splash plate application. Mascerates A Vogelsang ExaCut distributor, complete with large capacity stone trap
and easy drain port, macerates the slurry, before feeding it to the inline rubber outlet nozzles which have adjustable height control. The Injector is fitted with a heavy duty double swing arm operated by a double-acting hydraulic line feed valve. Standard line fitting is a female 4in Bauer HK108, but alternatives can be specified. When ordered with the 6m hydraulic folding Sward Slitter, the Slit Injector costs £20,512 +VAT. As a standalone, price is £11,978+VAT.
Opico’s new Slit Injector is intended for mounting onto the firm’s 6-metre hydraulic folding Sward Slitter and allows for improved nutrient use.
West Sussex-based Bale Baron UK is now offering a range of forage harvesting equipment from the Italian firm Tonutti Wolagri.
Forage equipment imported
JBale Baron UK, which imports bale packers from Canada, is now also offering a range of forage harvesting equipment from the Italian firm Tonutti Wolagri. The linkage-mounted 7.7metre and 8.8m Aries 770 and 880 tedder models feature eight rotors apiece, with 1.3m-wide units on the smaller machine and 1.5m rotors on the 880. The larger model also uses six tine arms per rotor, whereas the 770 has five, with each tine arm carrying tine pairs of different lengths to ensure thorough spreading. Both machines fold vertically to within 3m for transport, with a transport height of 3.3m.
Bale Baron is also importing Tonutti’s 4.5m Orion 450 rotary rake, which has a single rotor of 3.6m diameter, with 13 arms per rotor and four tines per arm. The machine’s swath curtain has a telescopic support which is infinitely adjustable for the desired swath width. Finger wheel Also on offer is Tonutti’s range of V-form finger wheel rakes, designed to offer a lower cost method of forming the large volume swaths required to keep high capacity forage harvesters and balers at full stretch. The largest model can gather up to 13.8m of material in a single pass.
DF_03_P33_DF_03_P33 22/02/2013 09:25 Page 21
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**DF Mar p34 Machinery _Layout 1 22/02/2013 14:34 Page 1
FORAGE & GRASSLAND
Krone offers higher specification Swadro rake
JKrone’s Swadro 1400 Plus is a higher specification version of the existing Swadro model, and comes in 11 to 13.5metre working widths. All models are equipped with hydraulic axle height control to ease the task of lowering the implement into its transport position. The machine’s driveshaft has been strengthened, while the maintenance-free rotor gearboxes have heavy-duty and unlubricated modular system Duramax cam tracks, which come with a threeyear warranty. The tine
arms run in sealed races and require no lubrication. Each rotor carries 13 tine arms and features Krone’s Jet Effect, which raises the leading end of the rotor first, preventing the tines from scratching the ground during lifting and lowering. Depth selection An Electronic Comfort rotor height control system on the ISOBUS-ready Swadro 1400 allows the operator to select the work ‘depth’ of the first rotor from the tractor cab. Servo-motors set the remaining rotors automat-
Krone has introduced the higher specification Swadro 1400 Plus rake.
ically and to identical depths. As standard, one rotor can lift out separately from all others. Meanwhile, Krone has also revised its line of EasyCut front-mounted mowers, which now
comprises five models. A new SmartCut system features outwardturning disc pairs which are close-set for greater blade overlap to improve cutting quality in thinner crops.
JPhilip Watkins has branched out beyond its arable equipment cultivation range to add four models of grassland subsoiler to its line-up. The subsoiler range comprises three, four, five and six-leg models. All feature a single row of serrated straight discs which are depth adjustable. These open up for subsoiler legs which are spaced
600mm apart, and feature auto-reset as standard. At the rear, a 457mm diameter packer roller, equipped with slot-cutting blades to ensure positive drive and reduce smearing, firms and aerates. Options include a following harrow which is adjustable for both height and angle. Price for the four-leg, 2.4-metre model is £9000.
JA key selling point of the Rota-Roll, which Twose has launched, is a hydraulic positioning system which enables the operator to switch from safe transport mode to a full-width rolling position via one tractor spool. The design allows users to simultaneously turn the roller through 90 degrees into the working position, lock it securely in place and
raise the transport wheels. The operation can be accomplished from the cab, with the whole operation taking no more than 30 seconds. The roller offers a 3.65metre working width. Other design concepts include axles which are mid-mounted to reduce stress on the tractor and drawbar, and ensure a tighter turning circle.
Grassland subsoilers added Tow-and-go with new roller
DF_03_P35_DF_03_P35 22/02/2013 10:12 Page 21
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**DF Mar p36 37 Machinery_Layout 1 22/02/2013 09:05 Page 1
FORAGE & GRASSLAND
Drill designed for fodder and pasture repair JDesigned both for reseeding grassland and for sowing the likes of stubble turnips and kale, Dales Agri now offers Northern Ireland firm Erth Engineering’s Agriseeder in Great Britain. Based on the principle of slit-seeding, the threemetre Agriseeder features a 300-litre hopper from which an electric fan feeds pipes to direct seed down to coulters. These run in the shadow of each of the machine’s two rows of angled, notched discs, while a 14in flat press roll brings up the rear. Two
versions are available, with 18 or 24 discs at 160mm or 125mm spacing. Auto-contour An auto-contour system uses a secondary suspension arrangement to improve ground contact and maintain depth consistency. The drill frames are partitioned into metre wide sections, with download applied to each by hydraulic rams which are linked to each other to equalise force per ram regardless of movement created by undulations.
Erth’s seeder can be used for pasture renovation and sowing crops.
The in-cab control box provides full performance monitoring, displaying feed rate, forward speed and area covered. Seed flow can be observed via the see-
through distributor cap. Options include springloaded eradicators, a larger hopper, hydraulic fan drive and bout markers. Prices start at £15,900.
**DF Mar p36 37 Machinery_Layout 1 22/02/2013 14:38 Page 2
A weighty way of aerating pasture
JIrish firm Alstrong employs a different take on pasture aeration to that of many other manufacturers, with its 2.5-metre trailed implement being based around an 18mm steel drum and welded blades. The Soil Aerator weighs 2.7 tonnes in standard form, but can be ballasted with water to boost this figure to 4.7t. Alstrong says the blade design, which has been patented, ensures no soil disturbance and leaves a finish level enough to have been used successfully on sports pitches. The 150mm-long blades are designed to shatter the soil at up to 60cm deep. Working speeds Alstrong claims working speeds of up to 20km/hour are possible, depending on field size and undulations, and this allows for potential workrates of four hectares/hour. Standard features include wide flotation tyres and a soft-ride hydraulic transport system, as well as a safety transport lock. Transport width is 2.7m and power requirement 120-130hp. Cost is £9600.
FORAGE & GRASSLAND
Zetor to offer implement line JCzech tractor maker Zetor is planning to offer a line of forage equipment, much of which is sourced from Italian firm Tonutti Wolagri. At Lamma 2013, Zetor showed the Columbia R10 round baler, which produces bales 1.2 metre high by 1.2m wide. A 1.93m pick-up feeds a chainand-crossbar compression chamber by way of a rotary packer. Minimum power requirement is a claimed 45hp.
There are also plans to offer the Syria 160. Bale diameter can be varied from 0.8-1.6m, while bale width is 1.2m. With an 80hp power requirement, the baler has a 2.28m pick-up which feeds a 14-knife chopper. The crop then moves to a compression chamber which consists of three rollers and five rubber belts. Syria prices to be confirmed, but the Columbia starts from £17,000.
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**DF Mar p38 40 Renewables _Layout 1 22/02/2013 14:25 Page 1
RENEWABLES Against a background of changing renewable incentives and capital costs, many producers have been holding back wondering whether this is the best time to invest or wait? Stephen Davies from the Green Electrician Group, suggests the sooner the better.
Is it the right time to invest in renewables?
ach time energy prices rise, dairy farmers are put under increasing pressure to find ways to meet their consumption needs. With energy prices currently outstripping inflation, increasing by 140% in the last 10 years and set to increase a further 12% for each of the next two years, there is a very real concern amongst dairy farmers as to the long term affordability of energy supplies. Generating energy from renewable sources dramatically reduces energy bills and is fast become the driving force for installing green energy. In addition, it generates a separate, indexlinked income stream which can help counter the rising costs of energy, feed or unstable milk prices.
So how do you decide which type to choose? The most popular forms on farm include solar PV, biomass, heat pumps, wind turbines, solar thermal, anaerobic digestion, biogas, methane and hydro-electricity. As every farm is different, it is not a case of ‘one size fits all’ but more which technology is best suited to the location and projected energy demands. Assessment Equally, all projects should begin with an energy assessment so costs can be reliably outlined against savings and income, along with 20-year forecasts. Any project should also include a suitable monitoring system to protect the farmer’s investment, with real-time alerts to highlight any drop in performance. The returns from renew-
Stephen Davies: good return.
able electricity remain high, with the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) set until April 2014 for hydro, anaerobic digestion, micro CHP and wind before further cuts. Wind turbines are currently offering up to 20% returns, subject to wind speed, although planning permission can be a significant hurdle for many. In contrast, planning permission has been lifted for most commercial roof solar PV installations, making it an easy solution for many dairy farmers.
Solar has its own 20-year FiT, which is reviewed quarterly and cut subject to uptake. However, with a drop in the cost of PV components more than matching the recent drop in the FiT, new 50-100kW solar PV installations are still attracting returns of more than 15%. The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is available for commercial heat installations of biomass, heat pumps, solar thermal, biomethane and biogas plants. The scheme has seen a fairly low uptake since its launch in 2011, despite incentives which could give a payback of under two years for a biomass installation. However, these technologies are well suited to the dairy industry and could have a significant role to play in the future.
OPEN DAY – HUNTERS HILL FARM, BEDALE JAt Hunters Hill Farm, North Yorkshire, by kind invitation of our columnist Tim Gibson. Guest speakers: Ian Potter and David Handley. April 10, 10-4pm. See p5.
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**DF Mar p38 40 Renewables _Layout 1 22/02/2013 09:20 Page 2
RENEWABLES So what are the economics of renewables? Tax planning may be a significant reason to consider renewables following the recent ten-fold increase in the Annual Investment Allowance (AIA) up to £250,000. This means 100% of the cost of installing many renewable technologies can be set
against income in the same business tax year. Funding for renewable investment can come from the farmer’s own bank, packages such as the Green Electrician’s Siemens or Lombard options, or from the Government’s new Green Deal offering loans for energy efficient projects. Other options include ‘rent-
a-roof’ or ‘land schemes’, where developers offer rental/lease income in return for space to instal solar PV or wind turbines. As with all things, there are good and bad offers so professional advice is essential. For those waivering, remember that lowering carbon emissions has
become increasingly important to supermarkets, and renewable technology is one way of boosting a farm’s credentials and making products greener and more attractive to milk buyers. For further information on recent dairy projects, visit www.thegreenelectrician.co.uk, or call 0845 654 2528.
Case study - Wells Farm Dairy, Bradley, Staffordshire rWells Farm Dairy has been farmed by the Holt family for more than 100 years. With a developing pasteurisation business, the current focus is now on increasing energy efficiency, reducing operating costs and lowering its impact on the environment. “We must keep ahead of the ever changing business climate to remain profitable,” said Mark Holt. “For a farm with exceptionally high energy usage such as ours, the current threat is future energy prices. Our move to renewable energy technologies will help stabilise our energy
costs while enhancing our own green business credentials, making our products more attractive to customers.” Following an energy audit of the site, it was identified that a combination of renewable technologies would help reduce energy bills and provide a separate income stream. The first of these technologies was commissioned in 2011 with the installation of 100kWp of solar PV, split over two buildings, providing the farm with an annual 80,000kWh of electricity, a saving of 43t of carbon a year. In late 2012 a monit-
Mark Holt says the farm has adapted well to new technologies.
oring system was installed to analyse the use of energy in the dairy over a three-month period. The process of pasteurisation and bottling currently uses steam produced by a kerosene boiler. The monitoring system provides data on volume
of steam used, temperature and loading, enabling a specifically designed biomass boiler system to be built to suit requirements. The data will also allow for reporting on savings achieved and highlight income achieved via the RHI over 25 years.
Hallmark WP DF_Hallmark WP DF 22/02/2013 13:31 Page 1
**DF Mar p42 Wind_Layout 1 21/02/2013 08:54 Page 1
Just as solar panels can be installed without householder cost and provide free electricity, the same applies to wind turbines where investors are keen to lease your land. Phil Davis, of Stroud-based Renewables First, explains the scheme.
Lease out your land to harvest turbine income f you have been thinking about developing a wind project on your land, you need to move quickly to beat the proposed degression in the Feedin Tariffs (FiTs). These come into force from April 2014. Degression is a tariff cut between 5% and 20%, and this depends on how many wind turbines have been installed and pre-accredited during the previous year.
Developer Renewables First is one of the most active 500kW wind developers and even we don’t know how large the degression cuts will be. However, we are planning on a cut of 10% to 20%, but no one will really know until it is announced in early 2014. The best advice we can give is to push ahead now
and get planning consent for your project before the end of the year. Then you can pre-accredit your site and avoid any cuts at all. Provided you can preaccredit by the end of 2013, your site will be locked-in to the higher 2013 FiT for the next 20 years and will not suffer from any degression at all. Landowners have two main options when developing a wind site, namely either self-funding or leasing the site to an investor. Self-funding offers the highest rewards but also the risk of spending thousands on a planning application which may be subsequently refused by the Local Authority. On the other hand, leasing the site in return for a quarterly rent removes all of the costs and risk from the landowner, and gives it
An indication of the income which could be expected from a leased single 500kW site Average wind speed Lease-rental income/year 6.5 metres/sec (14.5mph) £40,000 7.0 metres/sec (15.7mph) £44,000 7.5 metres/sec (16.8mph) £48,000
Prospective wind turbine developers are being advised to act quickly.
to the developer who has leased the site. In return for the lease, the site owner can typically expect to receive up to 10% of the gross income from the turbine for a single 500kW turbine (less for larger turbines because the FiTs are much smaller). Surplus energy At some sites, it is also possible to consume the electricity generated by the wind turbine firstly on site, thereby providing cheaper electricity to the site owner, with only the surplus electricity exported to the grid. In practice, this is
relatively simple to achieve provided the site has significant on-site loads and suitable existing electrical infrastructure. If you are interested in leasing your site, Renewables First has links to organisations which would be interested, subject to the site passing some basic tests for wind speed, site access, grid connection and a check on planning sensitivities. Please remember, it is important to get in touch now to have the best chance of beating the FiT degression cuts. ■ Details on 01453 887 744, or www.renewablesfirst.co.uk
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First Milk set to increase its price for April
JFirst Milk is to increase its milk prices from April 2013 as well as having confirmed a further return on members’ invested capital. The liquid pool price is to increase by 0.5ppl, while suppliers in the cheese and balancing pools will see their price move up by 0.4ppl. The first price increase for the liquid market suppliers in 2013 takes our standard litre (4%b/f & 3.3% prot, Bactoscans of 30,000/ml & SCCs of 200,000/ml, 1mltrs/yr on EODC but before seasonality, balancing or capital retentions) price up to 29.65ppl. Following the 0.25ppl increase from Jan’13 our balancing price increases to 28.90ppl, as will the cheese milk price following the slightly bigger increase of 0.5ppl from Jan’13.
Our Highlands and Islands supplier, also having received the 0.5ppl increase from Jan’13, will see the price move up 0.4ppl in April to 29.36ppl.
Bonus All the quoted prices include the company’s 0.5ppl production bonus payable providing the monthly supply is greater than the same month the previous year. In addition, the business will also pay out a 3% return on members’ capital account balances in April. Since 2010 the company has made two returns on investment in each year, equating to an annual payment of £1800 or 6% for an average 1mltr litre producer. From Apr’13 First Milk is also increasing member capital contributions from 0.2ppl to 0.5ppl.
**DF Mar p44 45 46 Milk Prices_Layout 1 21/02/2013 13:20 Page 2
Milk price analyst Stephen Bradley on the latest milk industry developments.
News in brief... Caledonian Cheese up 0.13p
JThe Fresh Milk Company, Caledonian Cheese, has increased its milk price by a further 0.13ppl from Feb’13. The increase via higher constituent payments takes our standard litre up 0.13ppl to 29.87ppl and 30.37ppl on the company’s profile price option, based on our rolling 12-month profile payment to Dec’12 of 0.5ppl.
M&S increase 1.3ppl from Feb
JMarks & Spencer increased its milk price paid to its dedicated suppliers by 1.322ppl from Feb’13, taking the retailer’s headline standard litre milk price up to 33.58ppl under its price model. Some 0.962ppl of the total increase will be added to the base price, while the Healthier Milk Premium (for achieving the target of less than 69% saturated fat in milk), will lift 0.36ppl to +0.7ppl. The combined increase of 1.322ppl takes our standard litre up to 33.47ppl, on the basis of meeting set targets.
December milk prices explained
JOur milk price table highlights prices paid for Dec’12 supply and shows United reduced its milk price by 2ppl dropping our standard price back to 29.89ppl. However, those really eagled eyed readers will observe the Arla Foods’ increase from Dec’12 is highlighted in our table as an increase of 0.71ppl and not the 1ppl announced by the company. The reason is the price increased from December 10 and therefore the remaining 0.24ppl (the result of the increase not applying for the first nine days of December) will be picked up in the Jan’13 price. The same applies for Paynes Dairies, which also mirrored the Arla Foods’ price increase for December. Arla Milk Link’s increase of 1.33ppl from December 3 is also highlighted as an increase of 1.24ppl this month, with the remaining 0.09ppl to be picked up in the Feb’13 price before taking into account the 0.23ppl cut from the two-year rolling currency model.
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**DF Mar p44 45 46 Milk Prices_Layout 1 21/02/2013 13:00 Page 3
MILK PRICES Latest milk prices from D.C – M&S ∞ D.C – Waitrose ∞^ MüllerWiseman – Sainsbury's Central Scotland MüllerWiseman – Sainsbury's England D.C – Sainsbury's MüllerWiseman – Tesco Scotland MüllerWiseman – Tesco England Arla Foods – AFMP Sainsbury's ••* Cadbury – Selkley Vale Milk Arla Foods – Tesco ••* MüllerWiseman – The Co-op Dairy Group Caledonian Cheese Co – Profile ‡ Arla Foods – Standard (former Asda)••* (•••) Wyke Farms Blackmore Vale Farm Cream Parkham Farms D.C – Davidstow ∞ Barber A.J & R.G Yew Tree Dairy Caledonian Cheese Co Meadow Foods Lakes ± Meadow Foods – Level Meadow Foods – Seasonal Arla Foods – Standard (Former Non-Aligned)••* (•••) Wensleydale Dairy Products Paynes Farms Dairies (•••) MüllerWiseman – Aberdeen MüllerWiseman – Central Scotland MüllerWiseman – England Grahams Dairies Joseph Heler D.C – Liquid Regional Premium ∞ ¶ Saputo UK – Level supply # Milk Link – London Liquid (••••) Milk Link – West Country Liquid (••••) South Caernarfon Arla Foods – AFMP Standard ••* (•••) Milk Link Rodda's ¢• (••••) Belton Cheese Glanbia – Llangefni (flat) Saputo UK – Seasonal # Glanbia – Llangefni (Constituent) Milk Link – Manufacturing ¢• (••••) First Milk – Highlands & Islands § First Milk – Liquid § First Milk Balancing § First Milk – Cheese § United Dairy Farmers ≠ Average Price
Nov'12 4.0/3.3 Before Seas'lty (i)
32.15 31.97 30.66 30.66 30.51 31.58 31.58 30.54 30.16 31.33 30.00 29.42 29.38 29.25 29.20 29.00 28.85 29.11 29.50 28.92 29.00 29.00 29.00 29.38 29.48 29.20 29.00 29.00 29.00 29.00 27.99 28.85 27.96 27.50 27.50 28.28 29.38 27.91 28.05 28.35 27.66 28.28 27.51 27.71 28.65 27.35 27.25 31.89 29.23
Dec'12 4.0/3.3 Before Seas'lty (ii)
32.15 31.97 30.66 30.66 30.51 31.58 31.58 30.54 30.16 31.33 30.50 30.14 30.09 29.25 29.20 29.00 28.85 29.11 29.50 29.64 29.00 29.00 29.00 30.09 29.48 29.91 29.50 29.50 29.50 30.00 27.99 28.85 27.96 28.74 28.74 28.53 30.09 29.15 28.05 28.35 27.66 28.28 28.75 28.46 29.15 28.25 28.00 29.89 29.51
Dec'12 4.0/3.3 1mltr SAPP **(iii)
34.09 33.82 30.66 30.66 32.45 31.58 31.58 30.53 30.16 31.32 30.50 30.39 30.08 29.25 29.20 30.49 30.79 29.11 29.50 29.64 29.50 29.00 30.00 30.08 29.48 29.91 29.50 29.50 29.50 30.00 29.99 30.79 27.96 28.23 28.23 30.52 30.08 28.64 28.05 28.02 29.16 27.95 28.24 27.68 28.39 27.49 27.24 29.87 29.77
12mth Ave Jan'12 Dec'12 (iv)
31.62 30.59 30.56 30.56 30.49 30.26 30.26 30.17 29.73 29.70 29.48 28.85 28.84 28.83 28.65 28.63 28.62 28.44 28.42 28.34 28.21 28.17 28.17 28.13 28.12 28.03 27.88 27.88 27.88 27.87 27.82 27.69 27.57 27.55 27.55 27.51 27.50 27.50 27.36 27.31 27.27 27.21 27.14 26.89 26.87 26.49 26.48 26.31 28.36
Diff Dec'12 v Nov '12 (i) v (ii)
N/C N/C N/C N/C N/C N/C N/C N/C N/C N/C 0.50 0.72 0.71 N/C N/C N/C N/C N/C N/C 0.72 N/C N/C N/C 0.71 N/C 0.71 0.50 0.50 0.50 1.00 N/C N/C N/C 1.24 1.24 0.25 0.71 1.24 N/C N/C N/C N/C 1.24 0.75 0.50 0.90 0.75 -2.00
Notes to table Prices paid for 1mltr producer supplying milk of average constituents 4% butterfat and 3.3% protein, SCCs of 200,000/ml and Bactoscans of 30,000/ml on EODC excluding capital retentions and MDC levies. SAPP = Seasonally Adjusted Profile Price. (i) Nov’12 prices before seasonality. (ii) Dec’12 prices before seasonality. (iii) Seasonally adjusted profile price for Dec’12 taking into account monthly seasonality payments and profiles of supply. ** Seasonal adjusted profile supply for 1mltr supplier (using monthly RPA figures) for Dec'12=2,614ltrs/day, flat supply=2,740ltrs/day. (iv) Table ranked on the seasonally adjusted price for the 12mths to Dec’12. § SAPP reflects 12mth profile adjustment of -0.28ppl. ¢ SAPP reflects 2,723ltrs (Aug to Dec’11 daily average) paid as ‘A’ ltrs with the remaining ‘B’ ltrs paid @ 105% of the ‘A’ price (ie constituents plus Market Related Adjustment) for Dec'12. • No 'B' litres/day applicable for Dec'12 with daily volume of 2,614ltrs/day being below the 'A' volume of 2,723ltrs. 0.5ppl production bonus for Milk Link, First Milk and Glanbia Cheese not applicable for Dec'12 SAPP with daily production not within our 3% tolorance of Dec'11 based on RPA monthly figures.••* No balancing charge from Jul'12 through to Dec'12. ∞ Price before seasonality includes 12mth rolling profile payment of 1.06ppl to Dec'12 (unchanged on previous month). ∞^ Price before seasonality includes 12mth rolling profile payment of 0.45ppl to Dec'12 (unchanged on previous month). ± Price before seasonality includes 12mth rolling profile payment of 0.5ppl to Dec'12 (unchanged on previous month). # Constituent payments priced by volume. ≠ Seasonality built into monthly base price. Arla Foods—AFMP Asda and Non-aligned prices merged into Arla Foods AFMP Standard from Oct'12. (•••) Dec'12 price increase effective from the 10th Dec'12 (••••) Dec'12 increase effective from 3rd Dec'12. ¶ Price includes Regional & Support Premiums. ‡ Non-seasonal price includes 12mth average rolling profile of 0.5ppl to Dec'12 (unchanged on previous month). Tesco milk prices include the 0.5ppl bonus for co-operation with Promar costings. Milkprices.com cannot take any responsibility for losses arising. Copyright: Milkprices.com
DF_03_P47_DF_03_P47 22/02/2013 09:28 Page 21
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**DF Mar p48 49 New Products_Layout 1 21/02/2013 13:03 Page 1
This month, we feature the latest slurry injector and utility vehicle, plus a new calf feeder and milk dispenser.
Soluble copper sulphate powder JSolucop, a new soluble copper sulphate for footbaths, is now available in the UK exclusively from Strathclyde Nutrition. With a consistent physical quality, Solucop is a powdered form of copper sulphate which is easier to mix, dissolving more readily in cold water than conventional crystalline copper sulphate. ■ Details: 01555 820 627.
JDow AgroSciences has launched DoxstarPro, a foliar-acting spray containing fluroxypyr and triclopyr, which together deliver a more robust and reliable effect than when used alone. They are readily translocated within the target plants, giving long-lasting control of broad leaved and curled docks and chickweed. The maximum dose rate is now two litres per ha per year applied in 300-400 litres of water. ■ Details at www.grassbites.co.uk
Maschio hedge cutters launched by Opico in UK JOPICO has launched a range of Maschio hedge cutters to the UK. All three models in the range - Camilla, Katia and Carla – have a double-sided flail and dual direction rotor to achieve a cleaner cut, plus a large cutting head angle (246-degree) for working down deep banks or under tree branches. The Carla 500 has a reach of 5m and a high in-board pivot point which allows the flail to work alongside or tuck in tightly behind the tractor. It is suitable for tractors over 2800kg in weight with at least 60hp. The Camilla is suited for
general multi-purpose use. Its large oil tank reserve ensures oil keeps cool during long periods. It is suitable for use with tractors from 2300kg and 60hp. For more heavyduty/professional use, the Katia is capable of cutting hedges left for three years in stewardship schemes, and has a reach of up to 625cm. It requires a tractor weight of 3000kg and at least 80hp. Ex-VAT prices are: Camilla 450, £16,762; Katia 550, £20,425; and Carla 500, £17,915. ■ Details on 01778 421 111, or www.maschio.co.uk
Accurate calf feeder filling
JDairy Spares’ new MilkKart on wheels accurately fills calf feeders using a pump dispenser with flow meter. With a capacity of 125 litres, the insulated tank maintains temperature. A detachable battery-operated pump unit can be used to fill the tank and to dispense milk into feeders. Sized to fit through a standard doorway, the Milk-Kart has large, heavy duty, all-terrain wheels for easy movement and is fitted with automatic brakes. It costs £2395+VAT. ■ Details 01948 667 676.
**DF Mar p48 49 New Products_Layout 1 21/02/2013 13:03 Page 2
Milk mixer Cushman launches utility vehicle and dispenser JCushman, known for its JKiwiKit’s Stallion Milk Mixer mixes and dispenses colostrums, whole milk or powder. The mobile tankercum-mixer is available in 450-litre capacity (single axle) and 800-litre (tandem axle) models. It has a calibrated float level indicator, a simple click-and-clean system and dispenser gun to deliver 320 litres per minute. ■ Details www.kiwikit.co.uk, or 01584 879 959.
GOT W A NE UCT? PROD
light transportation vehicles for commercial, industrial and turf maintenance applications, has brought a new contender to the all terrain market with its 1600XD-R 4x4 utility vehicle. Combining four-wheel drive with a 22hp, 1007cc three-cylinder OHV diesel engine, its performance is enhanced by an automatic, continuously variable transmission with low and high gear ratios. It has a user selectable locking rear dif-
towing capacity, with a maximum vehicle load of 726kg. The 1600XD-R can be licensed for road use. ■ Details at www.cushman.co.uk
New products are featured in each issue of Dairy Farmer. Please send details and pictures to Jennifer MacKenzie at email@example.com, or call 01768 896 150.
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**DF Mar p50 Donovan_Layout 1 22/02/2013 14:40 Page 1
WORKSHOP tips with Mike Donovan
This month, Mike Donovan looks at how overseeding can save pasture down time.
One pass reseeding
p in the linkage on the back of the Orkney Isles frame to carry the harrows. they spend a To do this David had to add lot of time a second tier to the Accord managing frame to make it strong their grass swards as they enough to carry the weight. need to make the most of The frame is also beefed up their land in the short with heavy angle and growing season. plating. David Sinclair The machine has a substanruns on a pair tial contracting of wheels d e e seed h t r e v o t business and which give rGodowith a roller e lan h t has made two constant press he soil. to t machines working depth. d see in which customers The drill outputs find useful. The first into spouts which is a combination of a fourare located on a metre Opico harrow and hydraulically lifted bar. The Accord DL air seeder. wings on this are linked to The Accord is mounted the wings on the harrow, so on the tractor three-point field cont-ours are worked linkage and has a second evenly.
P TOP TI
The roller showing the rebuilt Y-shaped drawbar with the drill on top.
The Opico is cleverly mounted on a front three-point frame, while the trailed roller has a DL drill on its drawbar.
The Accord drill is useful because the metering system is very accurate, and the seed is positively blown down into the sward â€“ far better than using a spinning disc. David found it was best to go over the seeded land with a roller to press the seed into the soil, and before long he converted a four-metre Twose Cambridge roller, which has alternating star and smooth sections, into a one pass machine. With the Opico fitted to a frame which goes on the front linkage, he has another DL drill on the drawbar of the roller. Again, the drawbar frame had to be virtually rebuilt, lengthened and
strengthened to carry the weight of the drill. The seeding system is made the same, and the Twose transport position, using a rear axle raised and lowered with a long ram, is also unchanged. The combination machine scratches a bed for the seed and then presses it in while the soil is fresh and moist, making it a one pass operation. Further pictures can be seen online by registering at http://eepurl.com/c-eec
r Mike is a machinery columnist offering tips on building or modifying farm equipment. Sign up for his free newsletter at www.farmideas.co.uk
DF_03_P51_DF_03_P51 22/02/2013 10:15 Page 21
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BEKINA BRUGES BREAK DELIGHTS NEWLY WEDS “We were made very welcome by our Belgian hosts”
Newly wed ‘Farmers Guardian’ readers Joe Greenfield and Kerry Jones, who farm near Nuneaton in Warwickshire won our Bekina competition marking the 50th anniversary of this family owned Wellington boot manufacturing business. Joe and Kerry enjoyed a free luxury break in historic Bruges just weeks after their Dec 15 wedding. “We were made very welcome by our Belgian hosts, who took us on a memorable tour of this medieval city centre build when Bruges was a major centre trading in wool imported from England,” commented Kerry. Joe adding that, “As one who spends long hours wearing wellies in all weather it was great to get a break from dairy farming thanks to Bekina, a company based in rural Flanders manufacturing boots that are a real treat for farm feet.” For more photographs of our winner’s weekend away visit Bekina on facebook.
Call Agrihealth (free)
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DAIRY FARMER MARCH 2013
DF_02_P52_DF_02_P52 22/02/2013 13:32 Page 22
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DF_02_P53_DF_12_P53 22/02/2013 13:33 Page 22
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**DF Mar p54 55 Evans_Layout 1 21/02/2013 13:04 Page 1
The dog and I have a lot in common – nobody likes us!
This month, Roger Evans tells us the time might have finally come to trade in his present, much loved best friend for a new working dog.
think a lot about the price of milk and if non-farming people ask me about milk prices I have to say the price I am getting is the highest I have ever had. Quite reasonably they ask me ‘so what’s the problem?’ Well, it isn’t really the price of milk that is the problem, it’s the cost of producing it, and first and foremost in a long list is the cost of purchased feed. Traditionally, a kilo of feed would produce a litre of milk. I know the price of feed varies a lot and you mostly get what you pay for, but if a kilo of feed costs 27-28 pence and a litre of milk earns you 29-30p, where’s the future in that? If I’m feeding a cow in the parlour for 10 litres of milk and it costs me £2.70, and the 10 litres of milk comes to £2.90 or £3, it won’t take me long to spend the 30p I have made on all the other inputs that have gone up. Nowhere can I see anything that will bring the price of this feed down as all around the world more and more ‘feed’ is being used to produce energy. Everywhere I drive I see bare water logged fields which were surely destined for a wheat crop, but the seed wheat remains firmly in the shed. Where wheat has been put in there are considerable acreages on headlands and in hollows that will not grow anything this year. The only
plus I can see is that the spring sown crops that will have to go in will not use so much nitrogen as autumn sown crops, so we might see fertiliser prices weaken. So the cost of feed on an ongoing basis will drive change and challenge us that what we’ve always done in the past might not be good enough in the future. All the graphs you see show demand for dairy products growing faster than production and that in itself should reestablish a worthwhile gap, but here and now it’s tough and there are no quick fixes about that. Last summer the low price brought farmers out on the streets and it worked, but it’s not a solution any of us would like to rely on in the long term. My dog and I have a lot in common. The main thing we have in common is we are both past our best. Next to that comes like. We both like each other, which is a most important thing to have in common because, as far as I can tell, no one else likes either of us. So that’s a sort of bond we have that brings us closer together. I can’t tell you how many times people have come up to me and said “Is that your farm on the right two miles out of the village?” I reply in a cheery sort of way, “yes, that’s right” and I’m waiting for them to say something like “the cows looked
**DF Mar p54 55 Evans_Layout 1 22/02/2013 10:09 Page 2
My dog and I have a lot in common. The main thing we have in common is we are both past our best
well” or just “I wondered where you lived”. But they don’t. They usually say “I called there last week selling poppies and that bloody dog bit me”. Now that he’s past his best he only bites about 20% of visitors when it used to be 50%. Some people he bites every time they come, while some people he really likes and I can’t work out how he chooses who goes into each category. He really likes biting the AI man and if he can’t catch him, he bites his tyres. We spend a lot of time together, the dog and I. Especially at this time of year. Most of my time is spent going around feeding heifers and dry cows and the dog is important. If I have to take a big bale into a pen of cattle, he will keep them back for me, but if they are very determined to try to get out, and I shout too much encouragement, he will run into the pen and fetch them all out. (He knew all about the ‘F’ word long before he ever saw “Mrs Brown’s boys”). But to be fair, he will also fetch them all back for me after. As you know, we run a state-of-the-art cutting edge business here and an important part of that is having a succession
policy. I’ve got an eldest grandson hanging about at weekends doing the scraping and he’s putting pressure on me. He told me how much satisfaction he gets from scraping the yards in a tidy fashion, as if it were some sort of art form. So I think if I’m under pressure, why shouldn’t I put the dog under similar pressure? There’s a sheep dog rescue place near here – I might phone them and see what they’ve got. Trouble is, since I had my dog’s bits taken off he’s put a bit of weight on and he has a job to find a place on the tractor cab floor without getting in the way. Sheep farmers would have little time for a dog that wouldn’t ride on a quad bike. Contractors that come here often have a dog in the cab as it stops them talking to themselves all day long. Our old Same tractor is frequently used with the stock trailer on, moving dry cows away and bringing some home to calve. I need the dog for that but there’s no room for him on the floor. He used to get behind the seat at one time but the window strut broke and knocked him off. Now he won’t get up there at all!
**DF Mar p56 Finance_Layout 1 22/02/2013 09:21 Page 1
Pensions are big news for everyone, especially with the introduction of ‘auto-enrolment’ last year. Tom Morgan, partner at Baker Tilly, explains what this means for anyone who employs staff.
Pension changes are on the way Small employers have not been exempted from these changes, they just have a bit longer to prepare
nder the new rules, employers have to enrol every ‘eligible jobholder’ automatically into a qualifying workplace pension scheme and pay an employer contribution. While it is true only the largest employers have been affected so far, almost every business and domestic employer will have to comply over the next five years. Small employers have not been exempted from these changes, they just have a bit longer to prepare. So, a sole trader dairy farmer with one
Expert opinion rFor those not complying with these new rules, the Pensions Regulator can issue a fixed penalty notice, which can be increased on a daily basis until the business complies.
employed dairyman will still have to enrol his employee where they meet the criteria. Workers aged between 22 years old and state pension age with high enough earnings must be enrolled as soon as their employer is obliged to implement these new rules. Younger and older workers can opt in, as can those workers who earn below the limit.
Opt out Employees will be able to opt out of the scheme, but will be automatically reenrolled every three years (when they can opt out again). Until September 2017, the rule is a minimum of 1% of liable earnings will be payable by both employer and employee, and this should help ease everyone into the new regime over the next few years. Between October 2017 and September 2018, this rate rises to 2% for employers and 3% for employees, and from October 2018, employers will have to pay at least 3% of earnings into the scheme, while employees pay at least 5%.
This is meant to stop low paid workers being required to pay only a few pennies per week into their pension, because they don’t pay anything until they are well above the lower earnings limit. Contributions rates can, of course, be higher. Compulsory contributions will be due on earnings between the National Insurance lower earnings limit for the year (£109pw in 2013-14) and upper earnings limit (£797pw in 2013-14), but auto-enrolment is only triggered once a week’s earnings have reached the PAYE threshold (£182pw in 2013-14). For those not complying with these new rules, the Pensions Regulator can issue a fixed penalty notice, which can be increased on a daily basis until the business complies. My advice is don’t leave everything until the last minute. Most employers will need advice, and so plan now to ensure you are ready in time and to avoid the resulting penalties if you are not. More information at email@example.com, or call 01432 352 222.
Lambert Leonard May Robot WP DF_Lambert Leonard May Robot WP DF 22/02/2013 10:24 Page 1
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Boehringer WP DF_Boehringer WP DF 21/02/2013 13:21 Page 1
Dehorning is acutely painful.1 That’s why a local anaesthetic is given – but a few hours later its effect wears off and pain erupts. Administration of Metacam – newly licensed for dehorning pain – provides time-appropriate pain relief.1 So now, at last, you can make dehorning a more comfortable experience for everybody.
PA I N E RU P T I N G A FTER THE LOCAL Y E T A N O T H E R T H I N G M E TA C A M TA K E S C A R E O F
Reference: 1 Heinrich A et al. J Dairy Sci 2010;93:2450-2457. Advice on the use of Metacam or other therapies should be sought from your veterinary surgeon. Metacam contains meloxicam. Prescription only medicine. Further information available from Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Bracknell, Berkshire, RG12 8YS, UK. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Date of preparation: Dec 2012. AHD 7409. Use Medicines Responsibly (www.noah.co.uk/responsible). www.mastitis.co.uk/MetacamCattle
Days, not hours
Published on Feb 26, 2013