Farmer Focus Livestock: Victor Chestnutt at the Perth Bull Sales

I’ve just returned from the “Perth” Bull Sales held in Stirling; please tell me this is not Irish.

It was pleasing to see good stock returning a good price although I fear NI farmers are missing out with dramatically less numbers being purchased due to, in my view, unnecessary government import restrictions. When are we going to be treated as a integral part of the UK? And also the financial disability we are under with our beef sales being so far behind UK prices, with a 400kg R4 steer being worth £200 more in Scotland.

At home we are aiming all our bulls for the spring time – selling them that little bit older means we do not have to push them as hard and past experience has told us they perform better for their new purchasers. The down side of this is our window for sales is contracted into a period from February to May which coincides with the busiest time on the farm and also leaves us more vulnerable to TB restrictions.

Our winter session of our local UFU group got under way with a large turnout of dairy farmers to hear Dr Jack Kennedy from theIrish Farmers Journalspeak on his experiences, he highlighted the need for Irish co ops to rationalise and modernise production plants to cut costs out of the manufacturing.

Recently our politicians are making much of double jobbing. I can but wonder, does this not apply to our many part time farmers. For agricultural to survive I feel we need full time farmers and to this end, as we approach a change in support after 2013, while it may not be possible to link it straight to production, there should be a minimum requirement of food produced to qualify for any payments.

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