Farmer Focus Livestock: Weather benefiting Tim Downes

Fencing continues apace to cover gaps appearing following hedge-laying.

Simon weeder harrowed the composted manure into the base of the grass leys and Patrick rolled the pastures destined for mowing, mainly to prevent soil contamination.

By the time you read this the cows will be out day and night making full use of the new feed fence to be topped up with wholecrop silage, giving some energy to make use of the grass.

Ploughman Andrew has been busy potato planting around Shropshire, until conditions became too dry allowing him to return to help us plant peas and barley. They will act as a nurse crop for a new grass mixture containing plantain and chicory herbs.

Helium kites are keeping pigeons and crows away during germination. With recent weather patterns tending to get “stuck”, Andy has become accustomed to milking clean cows.

We are finishing the last Friesian steers inside and they definitely prefer the palatability of crimped moist grain to dry-rolled oats. Their larger frames and less shapely appearance than a true continental means they are suited to the economic climate in terms of meat cut.

We’ve had a ministry vet visit following our TB reactor exactly the same as Jolyon Higgs mentioned in his Farmer Focus piece on 3 April. Fencing badger latrines was again mentioned, as was reducing the grazing pressure, well it looks as though TB will do this for us as we await our 60-day test in May.

Video calling has reached the farm. Skype is revolutionising the way we keep in touch with friends abroad. The most embarrassing fact is that Dad and Mum started using it before us.

Having hung up my cricketing boots years ago, it was with some caution I joined Andy and Simon for training. The muscles have nearly recovered.

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