We’re now farming in the era of two CAPs and there’s a level of uncertainty in what to expect from both.
Saying that, the latest Common Agricultural Policy, even allowing for the changes that it will bring, is somewhat easier to get my head around in terms of what it will mean for the farm in comparison to the Climate Action Plan.
At least there are more certain details and I’d be confident enough it will be straightforward to follow once the first payment application is completed.
Regarding that, it won’t be a case of waiting until the start of May to get in touch with the adviser on it. Certainly not for the initial year, given the changes involved.
Once confirmation, positive or negative, arrives on ACRES, that will probably be the initial formal engagement with the EU’s latest agricultural policy.
I’ve to inform myself more on the implications of the Climate Action Plan and from my early readings, some of what is required is in practice already, and other elements from it are lacking in detail so not worth engaging with for now.
If weather remains challenging, this plan might never come to fruition but it’s worth being prepared
I’m just a bit sceptical of being told there will be income streams to diversify into so, for now, there won’t be rash decisions on the farm in regard to either policy.
Both will be kept in mind when making longer term plans and I’ll keep a watching brief on how they’ll play out.
Speaking of future plans, I had my first chance to work the weanling heifers as a group at the weekend. It was a good opportunity to get a handle on their behaviour.
There were no surprises as such but I’ll give them a few runs through the crush before I make any final decisions on who will be going to the bull in a few months.
They had one of their few non-TB testing runs through the crush as a few needed a dose for rumen fluke. It had shown up in dung samples from their mothers and a bunch of bull calves they were with, so it was safer to dose now.
They were on a straw bed for most of the housed period so far but I switched them to slats a fortnight ago as I wanted to compare them side to side while they were eating.
Those in the best condition were passed over for dosing and I got a bit braver this year, with almost half of the heifer calves getting no worm dose to date.
They’re housed more conveniently to myself this winter so over the next few weeks they’ll be getting a bit more attention than previous heifer calves.
If the rain stopped I’ll begin training them to on-off grazing when the opportunity arises. If weather remains challenging, this plan might never come to fruition but it’s worth being prepared.
Before that, they’ll be going back to a straw bed as the cows I left out grazing over December are due to come in and a slat space is required.
To keep them in their place or train them in a bit, I’ll leave some of the oldest cows in with them.
The comfort will do them good and they might pass on their longevity tips too.