Farmer Focus Livestock: Robert Neill and family enjoy success at the shows

Harvest is well under way with winter barley yielding well and producing plenty of straw. Spring barley however, has fared less, producing about half of the straw compared to winter barley.

While inspecting spring barley and wheat crops prior to harvesting with Andy, our agronomist, to decide whether to apply Roundup his advice was that rather than using two litres of Roundup we would be better off using 20 litres of patience. We are trying out his advice.

What a difference a month can make to crop prices; Feed barley and wheat have increased by about £50/ton and feed barley has doubled in price over the last 12 months. Up corn – down horn.

With the grass disappearing all the grazing cattle are now receiving 2kg of concentrate a day. The dilemma now is whether to fatten our cattle on home-grown ad-lib cereals or switch to a TMR ration and sell more cereals. With cereal and straw prices so high, prime cattle need an increase in price to compensate for the higher input costs.

It’s good to see the Scottish Executive is going to stop the “slipper brigade” receiving Single Farm Payments for 2011. I don’t know any other industry where people are paid to do nothing.

We all had good fun showing at our local shows. Both heifers received tickets at Kelso and Duns shows, taking the Reserve Champion at the Berwickshire County Show. Andrew was successful in the Young Handlers classes managing to win his class at the Berwickshire County Show.

An important lesson was learnt recently when our son Harry accidentally knocked the phone while on the computer. Shortly after Jac and the two boys visited a neighbour to see some piglets. During their absence a police van and car turned up to investigate the 999 call. The computer mouse and telephone are now no longer next to each other.

• For more from Robert Neill click here
• For more from other Famer Focus Livestock writers click here