November 2021

Experiencing a day in the life of a HGV driver

On a cold Wednesday morning I arrived at the Portbury mill and met Nathan one of our HGV drivers, who I would be joining for a day of deliveries. First of all, Nathan showed me how to safely get in and out of the lorry with three points of contact on the vehicle at all times. In order to hit the road we completed a round of safety checks outside of the lorry, paying particular attention to the wheels. When full loaded the lorry can transport up to 32 tonnes of feed. There were five compartments on this particular lorry, which allows for multiple products to be delivered.

At the start of the working day, drivers have to set their tachos. This bit of equipment is important as it records their daily driving hours. Legally they are only allowed to drive for four and a half hours before taking break. 

We then reversed into the loading area and loaded up with 9 tonnes of dairy cake and 6 tonnes of natural mixer for our first delivery. To ensure quality and traceability, a feed sample is taken from each product.

We headed south to a dairy farm in Winsham, Dorset. The farm had two feed bins so we unloaded 6 tonnes of dairy cake into the first bin and then the other 3 tonnes into the second. Once finished, we took a short break before heading back on the road. Our next delivery was some lamb creep feed to a goat and sheep farm just outside of Bristol. 

I learn a lot by shadowing Nathan for the day including the capacity of feed bins, correctly loading the lorry and ensuring safety at all times. The lorry drivers at ForFarmers work extremely hard to deliver feed across the UK, they have to navigate country lanes and the British weather. We really appreciate their commitment to our customers and focus on our roads.

Lorry day out

Becoming familiar with Insight

During the month I also met Debbie Clark, Technical Support Manager who gave me some training on our Insight database. I have now been tasked with coordinating reports for Ruminant Specialists across the UK. These reports are generated from our customer's monthly milk recording data. The analysis allows us to accurately measure performance across a wide range of factors including somatic cell count, milk yield and butterfat percentage.

Looking ahead, I will be continuing to generate these reports for Ruminant Specialist so that they can evaluate monthly performance and tweak diets in order to increase feed efficiency or meet specific targets.

Delving into a range of marketing projects

Afbeelding: Josie marketing activities

I have completed lots of fun and exciting marketing projects this month.

A few weeks ago Mel Digger, Forage Product Manager tasked our marketing team to come up with some new product names for a range of organic grass seed. We needed to create four product names as the range consists of a short-term, medium-term, long-term and a ley booster. This project allowed me to do some wider research around organic grass seeds. After reviewing the research, I collaborated with Katie Kogler and together we came up with a range of ideas. We pitched these to Mel and she has chosen one of our options. I look forward to seeing this project unfold in the coming months.

As a company we have a range of merchandise products that we use to promote our brand name for example beanie hats which are worn by our customer’s especially during these cold winter months. Recently I have been coordinating some new ForFarmers keyrings which take the form of a lorry. These will be available in the New Year and I look forward to seeing the finished product.

Hot topics out on farm

As temperatures are starting to drop I have noticed that conversations around calf nutrition are becoming more topical. As it gets increasingly colder, it's a good time to review youngstock protocols to make sure calf growth rates aren't majority affected. If a calf is cold they will redirect energy reserves to maintaining a comfortable body temperature rather than growing. This makes them more vulnerable to sickness and bacterial infection. Extra feed can be provided during extended cold weather to help compensate for the increased energy demand.

Another topic that is important at this time of year is the importance of nutrient management plans. A comprehensive plan includes sections on the maintenance and improvements of soil health, the reduction of excessive nutrient buildup, the efficient use of farm nutrients and the reduction of environmental concerns.

A day at the annual Royal Welsh Winter Fair

The last Monday of November was a busy one as I attended the Royal Welsh Winter Fair at the Builth Wells showground. There were 10 Ruminant Specialists from the Welsh team who represented ForFarmers. On our stand we displayed a range of beef and sheep feed.

Everyone was pleased to be back at the Winter Fair after it was cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions. Even though it was a chilly day we received a good turnout of loyal customers and new faces. Tonia and I served hot drinks and refreshments throughout the day to keep attendees nice and toasty during conversations with our Ruminant Specialists. Everyone’s high spirits and positive energy made it an enjoyable day. Throughout the day I also managed to capture some great photographs and videos for our social media channels.

Welsh Winter Fair

Looking ahead

I am looking forward to December and of course Christmas. On the marketing front, the hard copies of the 2022 corporate calendar are arriving and will be distributed to our customers across the country. Hopefully I will get the opportunity to head out on farm a bit more and increase my knowledge about dairy winter diets.

Afbeelding: Josie signature 2