A Cow Breeder

Glam­orous young farmer Stephanie Dick, 21, breeds Limousin cat­tle at her fam­ily farm in Stir­ling­shire.

No. 1 Magazine - - A DAY IN THE LIFE OF... -

My job has va­ri­ety, that is one of the rea­sons I like it so much – ev­ery day is dif­fer­ent. On a daily ba­sis I look af­ter our herd of 800 cat­tle. We also grow a lot of crops on the farm so I drive trac­tors when needed, es­pe­cially at har­vest time, as there is only a small win­dow jobs can be done be­fore the weather changes so it can get rather hec­tic!

I grew up on the farm so it be­came a way of life and a pas­sion that I couldn’t leave. When I came back from col­lege it was in­evitable my grand­fa­ther and fa­ther would give me a full-time job work­ing at home. It is an un­usual sit­u­a­tion in my fam­ily as my brother is study­ing to be a doc­tor, so we have the girl pur­su­ing farm­ing, not the boy!

What I love most is that there is al­ways some­thing dif­fer­ent hap­pen­ing each day. One day you could be bring­ing new life into the world, the next you could be at a show win­ning tro­phies and rosettes. The cat­tle are my favourite side of the busi­ness and work­ing with them ev­ery day is a high­light. Cat­tle are just like hu­mans – each one has its own in­di­vid­ual per­son­al­ity that you grow to know and love.

Farm­ing takes a lot of ded­i­ca­tion and hard work, but it is worth it at the end of the day to see the re­sults. When I was at school ev­ery­one thought it was cool I got to pat the cows, but they didn’t un­der­stand the work that came with it. The long hours can be dif­fi­cult. More so when I was younger, as friends would al­ways be hang­ing out at in the evenings but I had a lot to do, so I couldn’t just leave the farm, which I found hard. But now, as I’ve got older, most of my friends have the same ca­reer so ev­ery­one sup­ports it. There is not much to dis­like about my job!

I have my own herd of Limousin cat­tle that I run along­side dad’s herd and I breed from them. The first bull that I sold at sale was placed Ju­nior Cham­pion and I sold him for £10,500 which was a great high­light for me. I also do Young Farm­ers stock judg­ing. I won the Beef In­di­vid­ual in 2013 mak­ing me the best beef judge in the Scot­tish Young Farm­ers which was a great achieve­ment. In the fu­ture I aim to breed cat­tle to win the ma­jor shows, such as the Royal High­land Show, and to get top prices at sales.

As soon as I am out the back door I’m at work, which is nor­mally around 7.20am. I tend to get up at 7am, al­though if I have been calv­ing through the night, it could be later. I put on my work­ing clothes, give my hair a brush and clean my teeth. Then I head down­stairs where I get my dog, Tori, and I pull on my wellies and head out­side.

In the morn­ing, I feed the cat­tle and check them all to make sure that none of them have got sick through the night and need at­ten­tion. We have cat­tle at dif­fer­ent farms so we have to go round them all to feed them. Check­ing cows with young calves is top pri­or­ity as the young calves are most prone to fall­ing ill. I then head to my grandma’s, which is the head­quar­ters farm, at around 9.30am and we have break­fast un­til 10am. Af­ter this, any­thing The beau­ti­ful land­scapes and coun­try­side. Prob­a­bly Aviemore. It would be the amount of rain that falls!

can hap­pen. At this time of year, we tend to be hal­ter-break­ing our bulls for sales un­til lunchtime. In sum­mer, af­ter break­fast we will get the com­bine har­vesters go­ing and start har­vest­ing the crops, I drive the baler and bale straw to use as bed­ding for the cat­tle.

At 12.30pm I nor­mally go to my grandma’s for lunch, she is a great cook. In the af­ter­noon, we will gen­er­ally work with the show cat­tle in prepa­ra­tion for the High­land Show so I wash them and try to get a nice a coat of hair on them! Other jobs in­clude weigh­ing cat­tle or de-horn­ing calves. We calve our cat­tle all year round so I can be calv­ing cows and help­ing new­borns suckle their mother. All the cat­tle will get fed again be­fore they are set­tled down for the night. On a good day, I will gen­er­ally head home around 6pm for din­ner with my mum and dad, be­fore watch­ing the soaps. Or I have din­ner with friends, as long as some­one’s at home to keep an eye on calv­ing cows. I usu­ally go to bed around 11pm.

If I didn’t do my job I would be at uni­ver­sity study­ing busi­ness, but in­cor­po­rat­ing an­i­mals in my life some­where. I have only ever wanted to be a farmer and knew that it was what I was al­ways go­ing to do. My ad­vice would be: find a ca­reer that makes you happy, make sure it’s some­thing you want to get up ev­ery morn­ing for. I am a girl in a man’s world and I get on just fine, so any­thing is pos­si­ble.

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