John Joyce: 'We have lost control of our beef industry'
THERE'S no getting away from the debate about the current state of our industry.
As the current chairperson of the successful Offaly lamb producer group, I believe we need to immediately set up both beef producer groups and purchasing groups.
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We have totally lost control of the industry. Setting up groups is one small step or measure that can be acted on.
As farmers we do an excellent job in the rearing and husbandry of our animals, but maybe we lack the marketing skills needed in selling our stock.
Producer groups would be one way of competing with the feedlots on numbers.
More importantly, the farmer with small numbers selling at irregular intervals can achieve the same benefits as a larger operator selling through the same group. Groups could be easily set up on a regional or county bases.
And with good structures and governance, there is no reason why they shouldn't work.
Back on the farm, flies have always been a problem among the sheep, but this year they have also caused the cows a few issues with summer mastitis.
Two of the cases were in dry cows being fattened which has now knocked them back quite a bit. The third cow is an autumn calver who has probably lost one quarter, but will be fine other than that.
These cows were treated with antibodies, their teats were stripped daily and synulox tubes were also administered into the affected teats.
It was partly my own fault as I had no pour-on or other measure taken to prevent flies.
Since then I have put pour-on on the cows. I used a spot-on 10ml pour-on which will last six to eight weeks. I hear other farmers have used the garlic lick buckets and are getting good results.
It's been a few years since I calved cows in the autumn.
While there are a number of advantages in doing so, the risk of getting summer mastitis is definitely a major disadvantage especially if she is a young cow. It will be interesting to see how these cows turn out.
It has reduced the workload in the spring but they will still need a change of housing accommodation.
Calves and yearling stock are getting bigger and starting to eat more grass.
As the farm is heavily stocked with no beef cattle being sold any time soon, I think it is best to go with another round of fertiliser on the grazing ground, especially where the cows are due to be grazing in the next few months.
The aftergrass has been a little bit slow growing as it only got a light covering of slurry since the silage has been cut.
I will stick with the Sulpha CAN as it seems to work well at this time of the year and I will spread it at about one bag per acre. Maybe I should go a bit heavier as it will soon be time to start building grass for the autumn.
The suckler cow can get very hungry from early September on and need plenty of grass to keep them happy. With all the winter feed requirements now in the yard, the only job left was to bale the winter barley straw.
This was done over the last two weeks in perfect conditions and it is suitable for both feeding and bedding.
There is nothing more satisfying at lambing and calving than bedding the newborns with golden dry straw. It is probably something we take for granted and we don't use enough of it to fight against scour and other diseases.
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