Bristol bridge

June & July 2022

I enjoyed a day out in June, dual calling with Ruminant Specialist Bethan Till. Bethan and I visited four dairy farms over the course of the day. All were interesting visits and there were lots of conversations around milk contract prices and schemes such as the Arla Garden and Arla 360.

It was interesting to hear that some milk buyers are now paying 50ppl which would have been unheard of a couple years ago when dairy farmers were receiving a maximum of 30ppl. Producers on organic contracts with Arla are now receiving 54.34p/litre for a manufacturing standard litre from 1st June, an increase of 4.76p/litre. Due to the volatility of the raw materials market it seems that lots of farmers have signed feed contracts for the next six months for security reasons.

I have been fortunate enough to spend time lots of time with Bethan with out on farm. Together we have visited a huge array of dairy farms which has been very insightful. Furthermore, a couple of years ago Bethan completed a PhD so I have learnt a lot of useful technical information off her which I am sure will be beneficial to me in my last year at Harper Adams University. Bethan’s has also given me a deeper insight into the biology of how some of the ForFarmers products work.

Josie and Bethan out on farm

Calf weighing

Amy Wilson and I completed a day of calf weighing in North Wales. We re-visited the farms that we have previously weighed on over the course of this year. It was fantastic to see how the youngstock had come on so well and their growth rates had shot up. We mainly though this was down to improvements in youngstock protocols from birth to weaning which has enabled the calves to have an even better start in life.

It has been great to build relationships with these farmers during my placement year and see how their calves have been getting on every 2 to 3 months.

I have been out with Amy multiple times over the course of my placement year and as she graduated from Harper Adams a couple of years ago we have a lot of common ground. She has also given me some great practical advice for when I return in September.


I had an exciting day dual calling with Ruminant Specialist Mark Thornton in July. We headed over to Derbyshire which was very scenic. I had never been over that way before so it was nice to go somewhere new.

The first stop was at a new start up dairy farm. The farmer had previously farmed beef cattle and sheep but two years ago decided to transition into dairy farming. They converted one of their large sheds into a cubicle shed with a 12 aside herringbone swing over parlour on the side, creating a free flowing spacious environment for the herd. It was great to hear about the success they had already experienced and that the new venture was defintely paying off. Currently they are digging out a pit for their grass silage which should be ready for this time next year. 

Mark and I then headed over to Cheshire in the afternoon to re-visit a farm that we saw in February. When we last visited they had just started installing two robots, alongside a new 10 a side swing over parlour. There's been fantastic progress over the last few months and the project is nearly finished. It will take the herd a while to get used to going to the robots but I am sure with time things will go smoothly.

Outside of work

During the last month I have undertaken a new hobby. I invested in a road bike and have been swapping in a few of my weekly runs for some long countryside cycles. So far I have managed to cycle 45 miles and I am aiming to build the distance up over the next few weeks. It has taken some time to get used to the bike but I am hoping to start putting my swimming and running to use and compete in a few triathlons.

I am looking forward to exploring new parts of the UK on my bike and see how far I can go. This year has taught me to be more adaptable which is a skill I have been able to transfer into my sporting hobbies. I am hoping to enter into more half marathons this year and hopefully work my way up to running a full marathon.

Afbeelding: Josie - cycling 72

End of placement

I can’t quite believe how fast the last twelve months being on placement has gone. To say that I have learnt a lot would be an understatement; I have learnt more than I ever thought I would. Coming from a dairy and arable farm I thought I knew a lot going into my placement year however I was wrong I have taken on board a huge amount of information from the ruminant nutritional sector which I never knew about. I would like to thank all the account managers I joined out on farm during the past year for passing on their knowledge in this sector to me. Furthermore, I would like to thank Chris Eliot for being a brilliant tutor in the ruminant academy which I have benefitted a lot from.

Since starting my placement year back in August my mindset has opened which has helped me take on new information which I perhaps would not have become aware of if I had a closed mindset. I have been extremely lucky to have worked alongside multiple teams during my year at ForFarmers with spending the majority of my time with the Marketing team along with supporting the youngstock team. Working alongside both teams has strengthened my ability to communicate and work well in a team allowing me to support someone if needed. 

A huge thank you to everyone at ForFarmers that has made my year an enjoyable and memorable one. I am excited to head back to university for my final year and use these transferable skills that I have learnt.

Afbeelding: Josie signature 2