Beef: Confused by conflicting beef sector messages
Published 08/04/2015 | 02:30
This year's winter has been a pretty benign affair compared to last year. The recent spell of windy and showery weather wasn't very pleasant for cattle that had just gone out to grass, but, hopefully, it will lead to a rise in temperature and an improvement in growth.
In spite of the poor growth I got two pens of cattle out on March 21. I put them on fields that had been stopped early last autumn and that had developed a good cover of grass.
My earlier optimism about having silage left over was somewhat mistaken and it was a great relief to see a reduction in the number of cattle in the shed.
As things stand at the moment with more cattle going out, silage supply should be OK.
My Friesian cattle have grown both taller and stronger during their time inside, but, as always, they still manage to look pretty miserable leaving the shed. Hopefully, with reasonable growing conditions and a bit of luck, I can expect the first load to be ready for sale around August.
The tidying-up that I did around the hedges this winter on my electric fence has never worked so well. I took the opportunity to have it tested during the winter and even though it is about 30 years old, it is still working well with very little reduction in power.
Of course, in a few months time it's nettles that will pose the greatest challenge to electric fences. So with the new pesticide regulations coming into operation next November, this could be a good summer to catch up on some spot-spraying.
Getting back to beef, recently we have heard calls from many sources for an increase in the export of young bull calves emanating from the dairy herd. The argument is that their continued presence in the country would lead to oversupply in our factories in two years' time.