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My Farming Week - Ewan Mc Call, Northern Highlands

Ewan is the third generation to farm Culmaily, a 404-hectare (1,000-acre) mixed tenanted unit in the north of Scotland running 100 beef cows (mainly Luing), 450 ewes and growing 80ha (200 acres) of malting spring barley


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Ewan Mc Call
Ewan Mc Call

Feeding: It has been a long, cold and slow spring up here in the north of Scotland. Grass has been particularly scarce and we only managed to get cows turned out a week ago, luckily we had a good carry of silage from last year, which has been some consolation.

 

Sales: Cattle have come through the winter well and despite store sales being back on last year, our pedigree Luing bulling heifers have continued to sell well at breed sales in Castle Douglas and Dingwall.

 

We have been breeding Luing cattle since my grandfather established a pedigree herd in 1967 and it is great to see the current popularity the breed is enjoying.

 

They have always suited our system and others have also now discovered their merits and in recent years the breed has been expanding fast, with Luings being sold to buyers the length and breadth of the country.

 

Breed society: This year we have been chosen to host the annual Luing Society open day in July, so with only a month to go, and cattle just turned out it is a case of all hands to the pumps to get the place looking respectable.

 

Cattle courts are now cleaned and we are starting on a massive farm tidy up. Planning for an open day is a nerve-wracking business as we have no idea how many people to expect and what sort of a day we will have.

 

We will have to try and cater for all eventualities. To be on the safe side we have organised plenty of covered space, a fleet of trailers for the farm tour and a Luing bullock for the barbecue.

 

Crops: Generally speaking we must be about two weeks behind with the work. Spring barley is only now beginning to take off after a painfully slow start. Fortunately, we have had a few good days, which have allowed me to get up-to-date with the spraying as well as giving a boost to grass crops. It is not going to be a vintage silage season this year, but hopefully crops will bulk up over the next couple of weeks.

 

Sheep flock: Lambs are looking well, especially our New Zealand Suffolks bred from Cheviot Mule ewes.

 

This is our second year with these Easyrams and they have done us particularly well, two more ram lambs now on from Robyn Hulme. Ewes are still a good bit off shearing which allowed us to head off to the Highland Show with an easy conscience.

 

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