Beef: It's been a good month - apart from a plague of midges
Published 21/10/2015 | 02:30
The recent mild weather has been a great help to farming, especially to people like me who are trying to finish cattle on grass. To be able to keep moving cattle onto fresh green grass each week in the middle of October is a great bonus and hopefully this will be reflected in the kill out performance of my last few loads.
The only downside that I see are the plagues of midges that seem to have appeared out of nowhere. Even the cattle seem to find them aggravating.
At this stage I have more than half of my store cattle bought in and once again they are mostly Friesian crossbred steers from the dairy herd. They are coming in at around the same weight as last year, but their price has increased by about €120.
Quality wise, they appear to be somewhat better than last year's cattle, but this can sometimes change over the year as their dairy background comes more and more to the fore.
I really enjoyed my visit to the Ploughing Championships this year, meeting up with so many friends both old and new. It was a huge event and I must confess that I spent most of the time totally lost. The upside of this was that I ended up visiting very interesting stands that I may have missed otherwise. The sheer size, and the dedication of its organisers and exhibitors, makes it one of the greatest shows on earth.
On the Teagasc stand where I picked up some interesting literature including a copy of the e-Profit Monitor Analysis of Drystock Farms 2014.
We all like to know how our enterprises are doing in comparison to other farms, but it appears that my output per hectare is well below the average. However, my profit per hectare is still above the average figure, probably because of my low level of farm inputs. Unfortunately I'm still a bit off the top 30pc, so it looks as though I have plenty of room to improve.
I am waiting for the results of recent soil tests. Adjustments affecting the amount of land available for my cattle next summer has resulted in a complete review of all my stocking rates. I am also using this opportunity to have a general look at my whole farming system.