Two months into 2020 and it’s fair to say it’s been eminently forgettable as far as the weather goes.

Thankfully, though, it looks like this first week of March – which apparently marks the start of meteorological spring – looks to be a bit drier, which might let us get on with some field work.

Certainly, we could do with getting some fertiliser onto winter wheat which has stood up reasonably well to being pretty much waterlogged most of the winter. We’re also really needing to start getting slurry onto the silage fields as potentially it’s only eight weeks until first cut is due.

Not really sure, though, if the grass really stopped growing with it being such a mild winter.

The positive side of the abysmal weather in February is that it made it easier to get time away from the farm, like my trip down to Dairy-Tech and the Cream Awards – thanks to Volac for their hospitality.

Firstly, congratulations to the Sloans, of Auchinleck, as winners of the Gold Cup, great that they succeeded in bringing the trophy back to Scotland for the first time in almost 20 years. Having visited them very briefly last summer, I think the judges made the right decision and I look forward to their open day later this year.

We also just missed out on the NMR Silver Salver, where the winners, the Coombes, of Wedmore, in Somerset, beat us by 2kg with a combined milk solids of 947kg for the year to Sept 2018. Our solids for the year to September, 2019, are slightly up at 955kg so hopefully we’ll be in with a shout again next year.

It was my first visit to the Dairy-Tech event and I thought it was a good event with quite a lot of interesting new kit, or ways to spend money – depending on how you look at it.

Maybe I’m a bit of a Luddite at heart, but it does surprise me how many of the newer apps that companies are bringing out involve ‘cloud’ processing.

Personally, having had major problems following a ‘Windows’ update a few years back and seen the trouble that Ransomware caused NMR this year, I’m much happier having the parlour PC ‘air-gapped’ (ie isolated from the internet). It also, to a certain extent, gets around the issue of obsolescence, like when Microsoft stopped supporting Windows 7 earlier this year.

One piece of technology that did pique my interest was a small hand-held infra-red camera, similar to the ones that we see being used to remotely check people’s temperature on the TV at the moment. In addition to picking out sick animals in a pen it also seemed to have utility in identifying areas of bruising and even white line disease in a cow’s hoof before even starting with the foot knife.

Back home, we have one new piece of kit in the last few months. We’ve installed a 25,000 litre milk silo so that our processor can switch to every second day collection.

Apparently, it costs milk processors somewhere between 1 and 3p per litre in haulage to collect milk so, hopefully, we’ll see some of the money that they save back in the shape of a higher milk price sometime in the future!