A time to reflect, but also look forward

One of our members mowing down silage.
One of our members mowing down silage.

AS 2012 has drawn to a close there is time to reflect on the year that has passed by.

Looking back it would perhaps be fair to say that it has been a difficult year for farming for a few reasons, none more important than the weather which was pretty poor. Livestock didn’t seem to achieve the daily livestock gains that one would have expected and never seemed to be content mainly due to the lack of sunshine.

Another key issue on farms was the amount of winter fodder saved for the winter period with cattle being housed very early and even some dairy farmers cows in through the night all year round which resulted in silage pits opened early and large quantities of farms winter rations being used up before the winter months even began.

This has resulted in the culling of large numbers of old barren cows both in the the dairy and beef herds being either presented for sale or slaughter. Decisions were made as silage pits emptied rapidly that this was not the year to hold unto animals not paying their way.

With all these pressures in mind many members were glad to attend meetings which gave the opportunity for a little lighthearted banter and the chance to hear how everybody was in the same situation as each other which in some ways eases the problem a little.

The group enjoyed a trip to the New Holland factory at Basildon to see the production line in action and also a visit to Cambridge machinery sales at Ely, which was for many their first experience of these large auction yards. All went well and gave many members the appetite to maybe try something similar in the future or maybe even further afield.

A very topical subject this year was health and safety with a big push on farm visits after a year of serious accidents on the farm leaving the whole farming population in agreement that the profile of farm safety was one that needed to be looked at closely.

Thoughts of all in the group go out to those families that had loved ones involved in these incidents. It is hoped that we can learn from these events and reduce the number of incidents going into the future.

With this in mind the group had a very successful day on John McNeilly’s farm which was an on-farm practical workshop to highlight health and safety while working with machinery and livestock.

The Mid Antrim Group would like to thank all their members for their support throughout 2012 and look forward to the year ahead and trust that there will be an early spring to ease the burden of lower levels of fodder.

Members should note that 15th of January will be the President’s Area Meeting which is to be held in the Tullyglass Hotel at 8pm.

Harry Sinclair and the rest of the UFU leadership team will outline the latest developments with CAP reform and other important farming issues.