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The Firth goes Forth
Well, since my last article some things have been good, some bad and some indifferent.
The wheat has emerged from the puddle that is the Firth, although not covering all the ground that was sown. Headriggs and wetter bits have failed to emerge some patching-in may be needed.
At this stage the winter barley looks OK. No spray has gone on yet, so hopefully, we can get on soon before the sprays that we purchased become illegal – that’s IPU and Treflan.
Ploughing has been near impossible even downhill!
All the lambs were away before the price rose. “~*@~# typical! Anyway they had to go as we were under pressure to get the ewes inside. The urea wheat lamb feeding did not work so well this year. There seemed more resistance to eating from some lambs so the “Gollum’s” had to be put on a barley /blend/silage mix. This meant we still had lambs left after Xmas so the last lot went to Longtown store. It looked a good price for about a week!!
Ewes were scanned, fluke dosed and blue tongue vaccinated in the first week of February. They seem to be in decent order but the scan was disappointing at 171% – mind there was no grass right through the autumn!!
Scans in the area seem very mixed – it will make for an easier lambing. Lambing & calving staff will be Kath, Iain, our son & me, Neil our placement student, who is doing nights and a girl student from Edinburgh to help Kath with the shed.
We had a busy time at the Salers sale in Castle Douglas in November, selling a bull and buying the champion bull from Willie, Jennifer and Alistair Davidson, Poldean, Moffat, then winning the Commercial herd of the year award. We will be having a farm walk here in July as a result.
Cows were scanned in November, with surprisingly only 1 empty (2nd calver so that was ok). This year’s year old heifers were a mixed batch, some smaller than we’d have liked to go to the bull but they have fairly grown out since July and will start calving at the end of March along with the cows.
Calves were speaned in mid December, a bit of coughing going on – the BTV8 jag seemed to set them back quite a bit and still coughing at the second jag.
All the steers are away averaged £894 at 608 days old, Av weight of 316 kg for 283p/kg to Scotbeef. They were about 35 kg lighter than usual mainly due to being wet most of their lives!
We have been breaking 6 young bulls to the halter this month before they get too big. Neil has enjoyed doing this – hopefully it will pay off.
We hope to, and the boys are keen to, take a team to the Highland Show, thus justifying their 5-day skite. They all pile into a stock box for the week. Now starting to break heifers before we get too busy with spring work.
I attended the NFUS AGM last week and thoroughly enjoyed the crack. A sudden rush of blood to the head (and a clip round the ear and lecture when I got home), left me and your other columnist, John Scott, chair and vice chair of the livestock committee.
The livestock committee and I will do our best to promote the interests of livestock farmers in Scotland.
It’s only a pity that our NFUS membership is not compulsory for all farmers as they all do benefit from the work of NFUS.