Open day was eye opener in beef production
Published 26/07/2011 | 05:00
This is normally a worrying time of the year for beef producers as they try to balance waiting for a good 'finish' with the ever-present risk of a decline in factory prices.
But look what is happening this year: instead of a drop in the price of beef, it has actually started to rise. This goes to prove how impossibly difficult it is to predict the cattle trade.
It also makes you think of all the cheap calves that were exported last year. If they were around now, they'd be worth money to farming and our beleaguered national economy.
Even with the on-off nature of growth this summer, my cattle appear to be doing well. The cold weather last month did slow things down a bit but then we can never have everything right. In June, I was able to use after-grass to introduce an extra paddock into my rotational grazing system and this helped to keep my grass supply up.
Currently, because of improved growth and also in the expectation of getting a load of beef cattle away fairly soon, I have locked up some fields for a late cut of silage to supplement my first cut.
A problem that has not manifested itself for some time has reappeared once again this year -- the issue of lost tags.
Luckily, when I buy cattle, I put my own farm tag in their ear and this allows me to immediately identify the animal that has lost its tags and I can then order a replacement.
An added bonus of these farm tags is that I use their sequential numbers to file my cards and this makes it easy to locate them in the herd register etc. I have also copied my stock files onto my phone so I can now access date of birth, cost at buying-in and weight of each animal when I am looking at them in the field. Of course it doesn't make them weigh any more but it can be useful.