We must make best of weather windows
animal, especially if the trade is poor.
If a week is a long time in politics, a year in farming looks like a lifetime ago. Cull cow prices this time last year were at a similar level to what is available for prime heifers at the moment. So much for our Food Harvest 2020 report for the beef sector.
I have decided not to finish the bullocks out of the sheds, largely because it would involve pushing them too hard. I'm lucky that I have the option since they still have enough time on their side to be able to finish before 30 months even after another summer grazing.
The suckler cows are in great condition and are on ad lib round bale silage with pre calver minerals dusted daily on the silage.
Last May I went to the Limousin Society's Premier sale in Roscrea all psyched up to make a big purchase. My budget was €3,000, but the bull I put my eye on was withdrawn before it hit €3,000.
While it took a bit of persuasion, I finally managed to do a deal with the breeder for just over €3,000. It's about €800 more than I paid for the last bull but he is a five-star-rated beast, compared to the last one that was only a three-star individual.
I reckon that over the course of the next five to six years, the extra €800 will be more than returned in better classifications. I was particularly taken with his length which should allow my stock to carry a little extra weight, even if the factories tell us that they now want a lighter carcase. I wait with interest to see what happens.
I am now halfway through lambing the first batch of ewes, with all going well, even if I could do with a little improvement in the weather.
During the day I have adequate help on the farm, but I'm on my own during the graveyard shift, with some nights busier than others.
In some ways I enjoy the silence of the calving and lambing sheds at night with only the odd cry of a newborn lamb or calf to be heard.
It's actually a really good time to obser ve s tock for any problems, and at least the mobile phone stays quiet for a few hours.
SPREADING: Sven Harenberg, Lorum, Co Carlow wastes no time in getting the first of his slurry out on high ground on the farm