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William and Andrew Cowx: Silage time approaches and good weather allows livestock to prosper

Most farmers will be happy with the weather we have had this spring. 

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The countryside looks fresh and green, with an abundance of grass and a few forage harvesters working on the lower ground. It will be a few weeks before we start, but our crops are looking good.

 

One thing I have noticed this year, and I do not know the reason why, but the ash trees are still not out in leaf. We only have six cows left to calve and they are still inside so we can keep and eye on them.

 

We are selling some pedigree Limousin cows and calves at the beginning of June. They are still inside and we will be getting them clipped up and ready for sale shortly. This is part of our herd reduction which will continue into the autumn.

 

We had the vet this morning scanning the cows to make sure they are in-calf so we can announce it at the time of sale. They all look fit and well.

 

The ewes are no longer getting feed as it was difficult to feed them with cattle in the fields, but they have plenty of grass and are doing well.

 

Post-mortem

We had a spell when we had a few deaths among larger lambs for no apparent reason so we took one to the VI centre for a post-mortem. They found joint-ill and pasturella and a second lamb died of red gut, an illness which we had not heard of.

 

Fortunately, there have been no more losses and only one hogg left to lamb so we should end up with a similar number of lambs as last year. Lamb trade is quite good at the moment, but it can change before ours are ready to sell.

 

I do hope they do not go downhill like the beef trade. Is it the competition between the supermarkets or the shortage of money the consumer has to spend? I do not know, but it has to be sorted out.

 

Not long ago we were told beef was going to be scarce and prices were going to strengthen, but the opposite has happened and the processors and retailers are taking an increasing share of the cost of beef to the consumer. We spend 18 months rearing the beast and the processors and retailers have it for three weeks and take half the proceeds.

 

Andrew has been busy doing improvements to the farmhouse, which has not had much spent on it for many years. This has all been spurred on by the imminent addition to the family.

 

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