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Young Farmer Focus - Charlie Coe, Suffolk

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Charlie Coe farms 52 hectares (130 acres) in partnership with his farther David at Great Wenham, Suffolk. They run a suckler herd of pedigree Longhorns and Northern Dairy Shorthorns as well as a small flock of sheep made up of pedigree Jacobs, Wensleydales and Whitefaced Dartmoors. Home-grown cereals are fed in the beef finishing yards to locally-sourced stores. He is a Harper Adams graduate and founder member of Hadleigh YFC.

 

Land work: A break in what had been persistently unsettled weather meant a productive week. Having taken a gamble and cut grass for hay the previous Friday, I turned this for the first time on Monday.


As a result of the heavy down pours over previous weeks, the grass was lying flat in places and quality had certainly suffered. It was the wind rather than the sun which made this hay crop and was fit to bale Thursday after being turned again Tuesday and Wednesday.


A number of bullocks coming ready in the yards at the same time meant it was decided to sell cattle both liveweight and deadweight on Tuesday.


Markets: Over previous weeks cattle have been sold deadweight because the price looked better when compared to the live market. The price difference this week, however, was negligible.


In my lifetime I have seen East Anglia lose three weekly livestock markets so I am keen to support the last remaining weekly primestock market in the region.


Losing another outlet really would make selling finished cattle a challenge, I would have a lot further to travel to my next nearest live market or face selling deadweight only, but I cannot afford for this support to come at the expense of already tight margins.


Lambs: The continuing dry weather provided ideal conditions to spray the lambs with pour-on. Having only got the ewes sheared the week before it was decided to hold off spraying these until they gained a little bit of wool growth.


Lambs were also moved to fresh pasture for only the second time since turnout. This wet and mild weather has meant the grass has just kept growing.


Saturday was our last outing in a showring for the summer. The Tendring Show and Wix YFC’s locally renowned after party are the last big social occasion in the area before harvest.


It was not really our day in the showring but I was chuffed my Jacob ewe lamb held her own against some continentals in the any other breed class.


Helping hand: Between jobs on the farm at home I still had to find time to lend a hand on a neighbouring farm, turning haylage one afternoon and helping apply spot-on to their 40-cow plus followers suckler herd.


By modern standards my family’s farm is small and unfortunately can not support my father and I full-time in the same way it did him and his father.


It is a situation which is not uncommon in our industry but I see it as a great opportunity to acquire new skills, ideas, and experiences which will hopefully stand me in good stead for the day where I eventually have to go it alone.

 

Alice Singleton
Posted by Alice Singleton
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