Why this beef farmer has changed his attitude to a lot of 'advice' coming his way
With the long, dry spell coming to an end and the return of wet, showery weather just in time to coincide with the main silage cutting season, I had visions of large silage trailers loaded with wet grass getting stuck in muddy gaps. In other words, the arrival of the much-needed rain could have turned out to be a case of 'out of the frying pan and into the fire'.
Fortunately, it didn't happen and the welcomed return of the sunshine last week allowed me the opportunity to get my first cut of silage done. It seems to be quite heavy, but I'll have to wait and see what it's like when it settles in the pit before I make plans for a second cut.
In spite of disappointing growth in April, overall my cattle appear to be doing quite well, however even with the recent rain, grass growth remains relatively slow.
With the aid of hindsight, which of course is a marvellous thing, I probably should have waited until later in March to let out the first of my cattle, however, with a bit of 'robbing Peter to pay Paul' style of grass management, which of course is far from ideal, I managed to get them through the dry spell with just about enough grass to keep them going.
I was slightly concerned that some cattle who were grazing an area which received a good covering of lime last winter weren't doing as well as they should.
Suspecting that copper deficiency could be a problem, I gave them a copper dose. Of course I could be wrong and it may not do them any good, but at least it will give me peace of mind with one less thing to worry about.
While I struggle each day to manage my farm in the most efficient manner I can, I must confess that I often feel quite overwhelmed by the constant barrage of so-called farming advice and information which we are being subjected to. Unfortunately, more often than not, I am finding that much of this 'advice' is simply large agribusiness companies cynically promoting their products under the guise of helping farmers.
Once again, recently published income figures would suggest that the cattle sector continues in survival mode. A fellow cattleman drew this to my attention some time ago. He claimed that to survive in the cattle business with no other source of income was an outstanding achievement and anyone who did so should feel very proud.