AS LAST year”s bull calves approach 12 months of age, I am more than pleased with their progress.
Eight of them are in the top 1% of the breed for beef value and the group is probably as impressive to the eye as any we have produced to date.
Two buyers have already selected their future stock bulls from those on offer. One has returned to take what is now his fifth bull from us. He was bemoaning his luck when he arrived, as a previous Rowden acquisition had just gone off his legs at 15 years of age.
On a more sombre note, as lambing draws to a close, I can reflect on our experiences with the National Fallen Stock Scheme. The more of these articles I write the more I feel like I am becoming the archetypal grumpy old man. But I do wonder what else the powers that be can think of to make us less competitive in the global market.
After lambing 100 ewes, we have lost about a dozen lambs. Each of these costs us 20 collected or 1 apiece delivered to the incinerator, which is 12 miles away and a good hour out of a busy day. Add to this the loss of a handful of ewes over the year and our annual bill for carcass disposal exceeds 300.
As UK consumers tuck into their legs of New Zealand lamb, how many of them give any thought to what happens to deadstock in that part of the world?
The bush telegraph in neighbouring counties is reporting extreme vigilance by Trading Standards” inspectors attempting to identify anyone not adhering to the letter of the law. Quite what this is costing taxpayers I dread to think, but rest assured it is considerably less than the two police cars and police helicopter reportedly seen shadowing the local hunt recently.
Perhaps foxes should be hounded to ensure they dispose of all their lamb carcasses within 48 hours and in the approved manner.