21 Aug An Outstanding Year of Grass for Our Young Farmer of The Year
Robert Campbell – Crossroads YFC [July 2019]
Here we are, its mid-July and it seems only the other week the breakfast time discussions were about when it will be warm enough to warrant applying the first fertiliser to the grassland and how quickly could we get the delightful woolly grass thieves off the dairy cows grazing land!
However since then the weather has been on our side. Spring cereals were established in near perfect conditions and haven’t looked back since, we can only hope that this streak of weather continues for long enough for us to get it harvested. As far as grass growth on the farm is concerned, we have had an outstanding year so far, with first cut silage filling both our first and second cut pits and with the excess grass on the grazing land being turned into a substantial pile of bales we are well on our way to having sufficient stocks of forage for the winter. Another very welcome side effect of the bumper grass yields has been that my fertiliser spreader has been parked in the shed since the end of May, and for the next few weeks at least it can wait there.
We have an all year round calving dairy herd, however some of the ladies seem to have decided over the past few years that we should have an autumn block so we currently have more cows dry than usual and quite a few almost at the point of drying off. In the short term this means that milk production is lower than we would like and most annoyingly, lower than the most commonly used benchmark on the farm, last year. However this should be rectified in a few months once they have re-joined the milking herd.
With my 27th birthday approaching at the end of the month, I still can’t believe that I have spent almost half of my life as an active member of crossroads YFC. During my time in young farmers I have been fortunate enough to have met some extraordinary people and have had some outstanding experiences. Last December I was lucky enough to be awarded a space on the SAYFC Agri Affairs study tour to California. This was a real eye opener and an experience I will never forget.
I guess the pinnacle of my Young Farmers career was last month at the Royal Highland Show where I won the Young Farmer of the Year competition, this was a challenge I really enjoyed. It’s very unique, combining both the practical and academic sides of modern agriculture in both the qualifiers and the final at the show. The business challenge really does force you into thinking about the bigger picture and make you look at your own business in a different light. I really would encourage anyone with a strong interest in agriculture to take part next year.