Monday, 30 August 2010

Great Dairying Opportunities in Tasmania for UK Farmers & Herdsmen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Ragwort Totally Out of Control.....But Does Anyone Care?

"United We Stand, Divided We Fall" quote from Aesop (620BC-560BC).
You will see this is not a recent quote & it seems to have a grain of truth about it.
Yet... Dairy farmers in the UK appear to me to be totally incapable of working together. Go to France or Australia or New Zealand & dairy farmers stand shoulder to shoulder & fight for their industry. In the UK dairy farmers even the pasture based dairy farmers seem reluctant to work together. This is incredibly hard to work out.....why??
Pasture based dairy farmers are world wide a relatively small group but full of innovative creative people. Positive people who are exciting to be with. The pasture based Discussion groups which have transformed UK farm businesses, enthused owners & staff,lead the way to respectable profits & created exciting work environments.........they too want to "go their own way" splitting off into splinter groups isolated from each other. Why??

Sadly the UK dairy industry loses 1-2 farmers & their families every single day of the year as people continue to see no future for them in the UK dairy industry. Low input pasture based dairying can offer many of these families an alternative which would not only offer a profitable option but a sustainable longterm family business.

Will UK Dairy Farmers Stand & Fight????

Ragwort is totally out of control in public areas in every county of England & probably the rest of the UK too. The worst offenders are the Motorways, Highways & roadways......closely followed by the railways!

Does anyone really care??? It seriously threatens livestock farming!

It appears NOT.

Although I was very impressed by Robin Page's article in the Weekend Telegraph

He describes DEFRA very accurately as the "Dept For Ragwort Appreciation".
Do farmers realise that the Defra minister is issuing statements blaming farmers for the ragwort problem & threatening legal action?
Calling on the "big society" to act when his own Govt departments are the worst offenders is a very sick joke. Sort your own departments out Minister!
Otherwise ragwort will become a very serious threat to every livestock farmer & ALL pasture based dairy farmers.
Defra does provide advice on ragwort & even complaint forms (Got to tick the boxes!). If you REALLY care perhaps you too could download a complaint form & send it to Defra....let me know the outcome!

Robin Page suggests you ring Natural England Ragwort Complaint phone lines. Let me know how you get on as I'm hoping dairy farmers from every county ring in to complain not only about the Motorways & Railways but also about Natural Englands' blatantly obvious "We haven't done a bloody thing about Ragwort"
Reading 0300 060 4994
Worcester 0300 060 1278
Cambridge 01223 533588
Leeds 0300 060 4180

Ragwort is symptomatic of the apathy amoungst dairy farmers. It is a serious threat to livestock including youngstock yet dairy farmers wont act as a group (or pasture based dairy farm discussion groups group) to get the Minister & his depts to act on the public roads & railways across the UK.
Back to Victoria Australia the United Dairyfarmers of Victoria (UDV)...the current President Chris Griffen (a member of a progressive pasture based dairyfarm Discussion Group) now leads all dairyfarmers in that state....the UDV is recognised as a "force to be reckoned with...". Chris organised this year's UDV conference around the topic...."Earning Respect & Influence...."
What is it in the British culture that prevents us from working together? Why wont dairyfarmers stand together! I thought the P2P groups might help to change the rural culture but we've fallen well short.

Pasture Growth Rates
Northern Ireland Cover 2346kgs DM/ha, 58kgDM/ha/day growth, 21 day grazing rotation (24litres/cow with 3kg conc)
Dumfries 2170, 66kgs, 28days (rain every 3-4 days, cover on target)
Nth Wales 2300, 90kgs
Nth Wales 2300, 65kgs, quality pasture no suppl, cow condition improving
Cheshire 2150, 58kgs, 21 days
Cheshire 2250, 67kgs, 24 days cutting silage reduces cover to 2000
Cheshire organic 2250, 40kgs, 42 days (dung pats strong topping)
Shropshire 228, 46kgs, 35 days need rain
Staffordshire, 2385, 40kgs, 35 days turnips by night, silage above 2800
Leicestershire growth 22kgs, 30 days(feeding full TMR, winter kale failed dry)
Herefordshire 2250, 50kgs(demand 45), 30days no suppl
Gloucestershire 2330, 40kgs, 30 days good response to rain
Gloucestershire 2400, 50kgs, 30 days
SW Wales Organic 2469, 43kgs(35 demand) VG grass quality
Somerset Organic 2050, 30kgs, 45days expect growth to 2X with rain
Dorset 2040, 20kgs, 60 days struggling for growth
Dorset 2050, 42kgs, 50 days (demand 24 with conc feeding)
Hampshire 1859, 22kgs, 45 days full feeding
Devon 2300, 45kgs, 50 days no buffer feed yet
Cornwall 2200, 40kgs, 36 days no suppl still OAD ...lungworm problems
Rotorua NZ 2300, 20kgs, 40 days Spring calving, 56% in 3 weeks, 120mm rain at weekend
If there is surplus grass do you really need to silage it? What about deferring?
What do you think?

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Pasture based Dairyfarm Expansion....Think Water!

This week I have made some changes to the blog which I hope will make it more interesting to visit.
If you look down the right hand side of this blog page you will see a number of different sections. First is the Twitter updates listing recent entries I have made onto may not be a "tweeter" but these messages go out to a huge audience both in the UK & worldwide to a very mixed & often non farming audience. I think its important that we tell both consumers & Govt people what we are doing & regularly tell them what is good about grass fed milk & how environmentally careful we as pasture based dairy farmers really are every day of the year. Nor am I hesitant to tell ministers to sort problems like rampant ragwort on our motorways & roadsides which are a serious threat to dairy cows & dairyfarms.
Next I have added a number of other blogs from around the world that you might like to read & investigate.
Check out TOM'S FAVOURITE BLOGS (see on the righthand side of this page)
I hope you enjoy the extra reading material that is now on the Pasture to Profit Blog..

Stock Drinking Water is Very Important
Water is a crucial part of herd expansion & needs careful planning. You need to start with the existing water supply but often this is woefully inadequate. Too often water pipes are too small & nobody knows where the existing pipes are located.

Water & tracks go together. Water pipe lines are easier to install before subdivision fence lines or tracks are laid but it all needs to be part of the big plan. Get expert help to create a farm plan for the expanded herd size. I still think the number of paddocks is far more important than the actual size. I recommend 30 per farm.
Bertie Troy provides a very good mapping service for pasture based dairy farmers in the UK & Ireland

An important animal welfare issue for all dairyfarmers is that dairy cows have access to good quality drinking water at all times.$file/Dairy%20Industry%20Welfare%20Report.pdf

However this is also closely linked to profit & milk production as milking cows without adequate water drop in milk production immediately.
No farmer likes to see any livestock remotely short of water.
Components of a Farm Water Supply
There needs to be a Water Source (Bore or Spring),Intake (powered by pump or gravity), Storage (Tanks or Dam of adequate size), Reticulation (under ground pipes that are big enough for herd demand eg 400 cows minimum of 50mm) & Outlet (troughs....the least important component of the system).

The pump (head) & the pipe size are critical to good water flow. Even if a pressure unit is put onto an existing water supply there is only a certain amount of water that can flow thru any given pipe diameter.
A loop line is much superior to a main line affects the total cost & importantly water troughs can be placed either above or very close to the pipeline. This minimises the short piece of pipe (less than 1 metre) of smaller diameter leading to the trough valve. Use full flow valves that are built for purpose.
There are some legal requirements that chould be checked .....mainly related to non return valves & the protection of pipes.

In the UK dairyfarmers have in the past relied on "Town or Mains Water" for stock water requirements but on most pasture based dairyfarms this is either inadequate or too expensive (or both). The costs of drilling for bore water are normally recouped within 2 yrs thru the savings on mains water. Once you have control over the water supply you can set up pumps, reservoirs(Normally 1 day of farm requirements), looplines & water troughs.
It also allows you to install dosetron systems for minerals & bloat treatment.

Water Requirements for Dairyfarms

Daily drinking water requirements depend on the Dry Matter% of the feed, temperatures, animal production (milk litres or growth) & stage of lactation.

There are a number of ways to calculate water requirements.
First way is that with the air temperature between 15-20 degrees C.....cows need 30-40 litres/day for maintenance PLUS 3-4 litres/per litre of milk produced.

The second method is based on the "DM intake X 6" plus 1 litre water/litre of milk produced.
Often if the diet is substantially fresh pasture then 80-90% of the water intake is via the pasture eaten. But you still need to allow for the hot dry summer peak demand day where the cows dietary intake could be mostly silage & concs.
Peak water flow rates needed on a dairy farm should be worked out on a per cow basis.

Milking Parlour....allow 70 litres per cow per day.
Drinking water/troughs...70 litres/cow /day (in hot weather this can peak at 140 litres/day), available in a five hour period = 14 litres/cow/hour

So an example:-
400 cows drinking 14litre/hr= 5600litres/hr flow required
To get litres/minute divide this by 60: 5600/60=93litres/minute required.

Trough size

Trough size is important for access, rather than water storage. Paddocks for a herd of 400+ cows should perhaps have 2 water troughs.

Trough size should be half the one hour demand

So our 400 cow herd needs 5600litres/hr, so the water trough capacity in each paddock should be at least 2800 litres (2 x 1400(370gals)).

Plan water requirements ahead of future development.....too often the existing water supply was barely adequate......let alone sufficient for a future expanded herd size....Go BIG is Good with Water....Think Ahead!

Please document a plan for the farm water supply so you & everyone else will know where the pipes & taps/valves are on the farm map.