farming resolutions

Farming resolutions for 2021

Perry Beard, 125 Holstein

Friesian cows yielding 8,600 litres at Manor Farm, Whitminster, Gloucestershire.

2021 is going to be an interesting year for dairy farming. My hope is we will get some sort of Brexit deal otherwise we will be left in limbo and could end up struggling on all accounts. I also wish for a more sustainable milk price so I can afford to do some repairs and reinvest in the business.

Twelve months ago, I maxed out the grants available by investing in a Lely Discovery Collector robot for scraping the floors and SenseTime monitoring collars. I’m hoping some more grants will become available in the next year as on my wish list of equipment is a hydraulic cattle foot trimming crush. This will allow me to raise the cow and her leg a lot easier and safer to a better working height. This will reduce the risk of being kicked and will also save time. Regardless of whether I achieve this, my motto of treating lame cows within 24 hours will remain the same.


James Kittow, pedigree herd

of 86 Dexter and Ruby Red cattle and butcher at Kilhallon Farm, Par, Cornwall.

My main aim of 2021 is to see the Community Interest Company (CIC) Kilhallon Agri-Food Centre - which I set up prior to lockdown - come to life. My aim of the CIC is to help people living in Cornwall understand the farm to fork journey and get connected with the countryside, which in turn will give individuals a guide to healthy eating and a better lifestyle, health and wellbeing.

The idea is to invite people onto farm from different backgrounds to show them the ins and outs of farming; share the beautiful countryside and the butchery side of the business.

This may include schools, people struggling with mental health, people with disabilities, young farmers - basically the door is open to anyone that feels they can benefit. Nature is a healer. If we can get people better connected with the countryside, it can better us all.

I am a fifth-generation farmer, and the community has served us well and now it is time for me to serve the community back. We have a portacabin already in place to use as a classroom, so we just need to invest in some toilets and we are good to go.

Martin Hann, 300 pedigree Holsteins yielding 10,300 litres at Hann Farming, Frome, Somerset.

This year we are going to have a big push to actively lower emissions on our farm from the cows, fertiliser, and fuel. From a cow point of view, we are going to focus on balancing the diets to reduce emissions. We will be using some apps from Edinburgh University to help us monitor this side of things.

We will also be working with our agronomist to use fertilisers and sprays more efficiently. Yields and crop cleanliness are important to maintain, but we may be able to tweak what we can use.

After dipping our toe in the water with electric vehicles by investing in two electric ATVs, and being happy with the outcome, we are now looking to replace our mixer wagon with a static electric mixer. It will allow us to be more specific when feeding groups of animals, which in turn, will also help us balance the diets better.

Education will continue to be a focus. We are passionate about educating the public and trying to encourage people to consider a career in agriculture. Over the years we have hosted many farm visits as well as going into schools. In 2020, we even did some Zoom calls with schools and colleges giving virtual farm tours and talks.