John Heney: Kill-out weights have really let me down
Last year's dire weather is to blame
I have recently noticed a tendency among some media commentators to remark on how the current spell of good weather has helped farmers forget about the trials and tribulations caused by the bad weather they had to endure over the previous 18 months.
Unfortunately, some things are not that easily forgotten and the legacy which last year's wet summer, long winter and dreadful spring has bequeathed us will endure for some time yet. For instance, the huge rise in the sale of animal feed may have been a God-send for our feed industry, but for some farmers it could take many years to pay off.
Fortunately, I did not have to buy in any feed but I did get a very sharp reminder of that bad weather when I started selling cattle recently.
I always feel a little nervous when I sell my first load of cattle but as they filled up the lorry well and looked fine I was fairly confident. However, I must admit that the results on the kill-sheet were disappointing to say the least.
While the fat-score and grades were only slightly back on last year's first load and still acceptable for Friesian cattle, it was the kill-out weights which really let me down. It was well back on last year.
As a result, I gave my second load an extra two weeks on grass and again they looked well going up into the lorry. Unfortunately, they fared no better than the first load.
While carcass weight did improve slightly, it was more than cancelled out by a fall in fat score and grades.