Letter: A dairy farmer appeals for help

Share
Related Topics
Letter: A dairy farmer appeals for help

Sir: For the moment the BSE disaster is not making the headlines. I would like to give people an insight into how it has affected me and my family and many like us, to see if there is anyone who can help us out of this nightmare.

I run a herd of 120 cows and produce 700,000 litres of milk per year. My farm is rented and we have borrowed heavily to make the facilities as comfortable for the cows as we can afford.

Our milk production is restricted by a quota system. In 1984 our quota allocation was 37,000 litres approximately, which was a 10 per cent cut on what we produced in the years preceding. Since then we have been cut another 10 per cent in various lots. This seems crazy, for as a nation we are not self-sufficient in dairy products.

If you want to produce more, you have to buy or lease in more quota. We have always leased, not being in a position to buy. In the last two years the price has gone up to an average of about 12p per litre per year. This year, because of the huge backlog of cows waiting to be culled but still giving milk - on BSE grounds they are not permitted to be used for meat because of their age - the price has reached 17.5p average. This price is totally uneconomic but has to be paid just to stay in business. Our average milk price is 25p a litre. If we over-produce we are fined 31p a litre, but the milk is still sold and used by the dairy companies.

The outcome of this is that we will have to cull 50 cows. These cows would have had several years of productive life ahead of them. Also, our young bull calves are being slaughtered at between 4 and 20 days old, for which we are paid pounds 90 per calf.

This all goes completely against what we are about in farming. We farm because we love the countryside and the tending of animals.

I went into farming to continue from my father what I thought was a worthwhile job to produce wholesome food. My father went into it because he as a prisoner in Burma had always been hungry. We are desperate for a way forward.

TIM EDWARDS

Burford, Oxfordshire

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Maintenance Assistant

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Maintenance Assistant is requ...

Recruitment Genius: Business Manager

£32000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Manager is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Panel & Cabinet Wireman

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Panel Wireman required for small electro...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Newspaper stands have been criticised by the Child Eyes campaign  

There were more reader complaints this year – but, then again, there were more readers

Will Gore
 

People drink to shut out pain and stress. Arresting them won’t help

Deborah Coughlin
A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?