Farmer Focus Livestock: William Slinger is short of grazed grass

Lately we have enjoyed a welcomed spell of dry weather, extending the grazing season for our cows.

With the wet weather of late summer delaying us in getting the last of the second-cut silage under way and at the same time limiting our options for grazing the cows, we looked like being forced to turn them in about a month ago.

Grazing grass had become so tight we decided to walk the cows on to some second-cut silage meadows about half a mile away. The only problem was the fields concerned had no drinking water available for livestock and so regular trips were necessary with the water bowser.

It was hoped, at the time, bearing in mind just how wet it was, that they might do half a week there before poaching brought this option to a close. However, the prolonged dry spell meant we were able to sustain this effort for some time.

Shortage of grazing land for several years now means it has been necessary to summer away the majority of our bulling heifers. Towards the end of September we are keen to start getting the bigger ones bulled as they return home. This year their return was jeopardised when a TB reactor was discovered in the Parish where they are summered away.

As we were aware TB testing had been taking place in the district I telephoned the relevant DEFRA Office to ascertain whether or not we ought to have our heifers TB tested before they were moved back home. Amazingly, I was informed that under the Data Protection Act, they were not able to confirm or deny any farm within that Parish was, or was not, subject to TB testing restrictions.

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