Alistair Mackintosh is still waiting for the warmer weather

Our first swallow arrived on the 3 April, the earliest ever. However, it hasn’t, as yet, brought summer weather.

As I write it has dried up enough to do some fieldwork; ploughing winter stubble has finished and spring barley is in but not through. We planted the barley at 8st per acre as per our HLS agreement.

Lambing is almost finished with only 30 left. It’s not been a bad lambing, however, it’s not going to break any records either.

Calving is in full swing, we’ve had some good calves with few problems. I had second calvers which, for some reason, were determined not to mother their own calves. I’m sure some gentle persuasion should have them back on track in no time. Had the cows been older, with prices as they are, they would have been culled and the calves fostered, which I suppose can still be the last resort.

We’ve joined the Premium Cattle Health Scheme, which helps to pull down some RDA money, allowing us to use vet resource to improve herd health status. So far, we have given all bought-in cattle bloodtests for BVD and tested the cattle at home. The good news is that we are BVD-free. This means any cattle brought into the herd, can be isolated and tested, thus allowing us to remain free of the disease.

SPS forms have been filled in, photocopied and handed in at the Carlisle office. It took longer to do, as I was keen to reconcile my HLS application with my SPS to prevent any confusion over any potential double funding issues. It wasn’t as easy as I first thought as I found some codes confusing. Fingers crossed, I’ve done it correctly and there will be no delays with the payments.

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