Couple win top award for the quality of their forage despite the wettest summer in 100 years

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The foraging practices of a farming couple from Membury have been recognised by industry experts.

Trevor and Carol Johnson, of Twist Farm, Brinscombe Lane, won the dairy section of the Mole Valley Farmers’ Forage for Profit Awards.

They were amongst six category winners praised at an awards ceremony for their forage production in what was

the wettest summer in the last 100 years, combined with the lowest sunshine rates for 30 years.

Now in its fourth year, the Mole Valley Farmers Forage for Profit initiative, aims to improve the quality and quantity of grass silage on members’ farms.

The awards recognise farmers in the following categories: grazing, big bale, beef and sheep, maize, dairy and most improved.

The winners were presented with prizes at the Redwood Hotel, Bristol.

The gathering heard that Mr and Mrs Johnson have a herd of 170 cows producing approximately 8,000 litres per cow, with a feed rate of only 0.27kg per litre and an impressive 3,600 litres from forage.

Palatable, good quality forage (grass silage and whole crop wheat) forms the cornerstone of the business. This year’s high intake potential grass silage had helped to continue to move the physical and financial performance of the unit forward.

A total reliance on family labour and a unique, trailer-based forage feeding system were interesting aspects of the unit.

The judges were impressed by the attention to detail on forage production, nutrition and the focus on cost control. They also noted the focus on key goals for the future and the openness to take on board new ideas to move the unit forward.

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