Just when you think you have encountered every known terminal ailment of livestock, something new crops up.
When a yearling steer developed a swollen rear foot we treated it in the usual way: scrub down, inspect for puncture wound or foreign object and inject with antibiotics. Unfortunately a month later, after much foot-bathing and several courses of ever stronger drugs the infected foot is still a dreadful mess and euthanasia now seems the most likely outcome.
We have invested a good deal of cash in the luxury commodity that is yellow, shiny and trades by the ounce – straw. A lorry load from “up country” at £90/t was frightening enough but when I saw the weight ticket I took a few bales to the local weighbridge only to find that they really did weigh half a tonne each. The only consolation is that, as I write, it is in the barn, while our locally bought straw is still in the field.
We have selected and shorn homebred replacements for our Mule x Suffolk flock and bought-in Mule shearlings. With the flock rejuvenated, root crop established and winter feed stacked away, we are ready to begin a new production cycle.
Having shared the trials and triumphs of the past three years with Farmers Weekly readers, Liz and I feel it is time to hand over to a fresh contributor. We hope you have enjoyed reading about life at Southcott as much as we have enjoyed writing it.
Livestock Farmer Focus: Bryan Griffiths