Cattle farmers need to be more militant about price pressures
Published 10/08/2016 | 02:30
July turned out to be a particularly busy month for me this year. First off it was a case of out with the old and in with the new as far as my cattle slats were concerned.
Having being built in the early 1970s, my shed with its low eves and narrow feeding passageway posed a major challenge to anyone trying to replace the slats. However thanks to the amazing problem solving ability and hard work of the crew involved, everything went smoothly with the minimum amount of disruption to both the yard and shed.
Just as soon as we had finished laying the new slats my annual herd test fell due, so the pressure was on to replace the barriers and side shutters next to the yard in order to get all the cattle in together. As luck would have it this challenge also had a happy outcome with the herd passing the test, which of course is a great relief to any farmer.
Next up was second-cut silage and in spite of the changeable weather luck was again on my side with the grass going in nice and dry, which resulted in little or no seepage from the pit. It turned out to be a good heavy crop, so hopefully it will be sufficient to compensate for the disappointing first cut.
I also had good news about my little 10 year old C4 van, which has nearly 200,000 miles on the clock - it also passed its DOE test with flying colours.
While other sectors in farming are benefiting from emergency EU funding to ameliorate their current difficulties, it appears that once again cattle farmers are simply being thrown to the wolves.
Is it that cattle farmers are just too meek and so find themselves being totally ignored? Perhaps the time has come to take a leaf from another sector's book by becoming quite vociferous and defiant when incomes are threatened. Continually playing the best boy in the class appears to have achieved little more than hasten the cattle sector's extinction.
All we need now is another pretentious farming guru telling us how to get rich fattening cattle. It's about time that these types were told once and for all what to do with their 'increased output!' and 'gross margins'. They should be politely encouraged to join the real world where actual farm income (net profit) is the only figure that counts.