Minette Batters

Some of the heifers and steers we sold at Salisbury Market were back a bit on last year, but January born steers sold well to £825 and the overall average was about where I expected it to be.

The Angus being reared under contract for Blade are doing exceptionally well since they were housed in early September. When we weighed them last week they had made a liveweight gain average of 2kg a day on 12kg of brewers’ grains and blend with some good ad-lib silage. With feed costs continually rising our weekly collection of brewers’ grains from the village is crucial to finishing stock profitably. If all goes to plan we should have a batch ready in mid-November at 19 months of age and then get the last batch away before Christmas.

Mild weather this autumn meant cows and calves still have enough grass in front of them and we should be well into November before we start feeding silage. Autumn calving is nearly finished and the Angus bull has just gone in with some homebred replacement heifers.

Last week it was a privilege to be asked to speak to in-coming MBA students at Cirencester College, interestingly, only a minority were British with students from as far away as Russia and Chile. It’s always fascinating to hear the challenges faced by other countries and I wish the farming conferences in this country would invite more speakers from oversees to enlighten British farmers of the challenges that others face within the global market.

Minette Batters farms 120ha (300 acres) on a tenant farm on the Longford Estate in south Wiltshire. The farm carries 100 continental-bred suckler cows, with males finished as bull beef, some sold as stores and the others finished and sold to local butchers. The enterprise also includes a catering business and horse livery. She is NFU county chairwoman for Wiltshire and founder of Ladies in Beef.

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