A family-run feed company is helping farmers look to the future in light of the challenges facing the agricultural industry.
Uncertain rural support systems, the European financial crisis, the potential opening of red meat markets from North America, disappointing market prices for lamb and equally disappointing potential prices for cereals are some of the challenges to be faced.
On the upside, finished cattle prices are now thankfully on the rise.
John Naylor, feed specialist from Northumbrian Quality Feeds, has some advice on the best way to address these problems.
He said: “Many will say cut costs but we believe more efficient utilisation of your own on-farm commodities is also something that should be considered high up on the agenda.”
Silage or hay appears to be in both varying quantities and quality.
Cereals at this stage appear to be in good heart, with crops appearing to be in abundance.
Everyone is hoping for a good harvest, albeit with disappointing prices.
Grazing quantity is improving as the summer progresses, but very soon it will begin to drop in terms of quality so maximise usage of it now.
To make sure that all of these commodities are performing to the best of their abilities, and therefore to maximise their potential, the following options should be considered:
• Analyse your forage.
• Review and assess your forage supply. Does your farm have enough to last you throughout the feeding season?
• Analyse the minerals in your forage. Forage minerals will help to support overall animal performance.
• Cereal protein levels can vary from season to season so again you need to have this analysed to enable you to identify any potential problems.
Mr Naylor said: “Based on the above, you will then devise a Ration Formulation.
“This is a bespoke nutritional package that we as a feed specialist would tailor specifically for your farming enterprise to help to maximise stock performance.
“Along with this formulation it is essential that farmers consider a physical and financial enterprise analysis.
“If these simple steps are followed and the philosophy is adopted, this plan will go a long way to combating the challenges ahead for the farming community.”
Northumbrian Quality Feeds is a family-run business based at Easington, near Belford.
It supplies both conventional and organic feed, minerals, feed blocks and liquid feeds.
It is the only feed company in the county with its own compound food plant, which produces a range of nuts, rolls, pellets, mixtures and blends.