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In your field: Charles Bruce - 'Christmas planning in the butchery is proving tricky this year'

The struggle that has been 2020 has now reached November and I can only pray that it is not going to be as wet as October, which was the wettest October on record in our part of north east Scotland.

I like to be a glass half full kind of guy, but picking out cows to go off last week tested my endurance to the full as trying to pull feet through knee deep mud was no pleasant task, with the cows having a distinct advantage of four-wheel drive, which proved far superior to my two.

 

The cows are looking quite well considering the distinct over-supply of water, but some of the calves are now beginning to look a bit weathered. Weaning this year will have to be done in stages as there was a seven-month gap between the oldest and the youngest calves, the youngest mostly the Shorthorn crosses.

 

The tupping season got underway in last week’s vile conditions, but this week looks like there is to be some respite with drier weather forecast. We have Blue headed Leicester rams running with the Cheviot ewes, Suffolk rams running with the Texel cross Cheviot Mule ewes and Texel lambs with the Cheviot Mules.

 

The strongest of the Cheviot Mule ewe lambs are being mated with a Texel ram lamb who is not too strong in the head and bone and has quite a long neck, hopefully leading to easier lambing.

 

It would be just our luck if the lambs get stuck at the hips, but never mind, that’s why we are there to give assistance. What else would we do in the spring?


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The on-farm butchery has been pretty steady this year despite all the trials and tribulations associated with Covid-19, but the last two weeks have seen a significant downturn in sales which I am assured is the same position as many of the other butchers in our area.

 

This is not the time of year for doubts to creep into your mind and the norm at this time is to be brave and kill more cattle than you normally do to supply a need still to come for the Christmas customers.

 

I hope this year they get round to ordering their Christmas roast, sooner rather than later as I don’t feel confident enough at the moment to be overstocked. This may not be the year to gamble with the current Covid-19 restrictions in place.

 

Not many large family gatherings or parties will be happening over the festive period, but hopefully current restrictions will be reduced so that families can get together and finish the year in social harmony.

 

As I said, I’m a glass half full kind of person.

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