Farmer Focus: Supermarkets need to go the extra mile

Some farmers buy tractors. I buy bulls.

By now you know I have bought a black Limousin Newhouse Ivanhoe from Kay and Bob Adam.

This is primarily to breed females, but with a breeding value of 51 and a meat value of 33 and as quiet as a lamb, hopes are high.

The Balmoral Show was the usual spectacle. Among the sheep and tractors were all the supermarket stands showing the public how much they support NI agriculture.

It’s a pity they can’t or won’t go that little bit extra as the freezers are still full of New Zealand lamb.

See also: Sam Chesney buys bull from Bob and Kay Adam

Minister O’Neil’s breakfast was attended by the great and good and her message was to drive exports – a sentiment I totally agree with.

The US consul addressed us and stressed how important the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement will be for farmers here and across the Atlantic.

I have a funny feeling the push will be for Bavarian cars and not UK beef and lamb.

Silage-making has started and I will go soon, but only if it dries up.

Calving is going better and our local laboratory thinks are recent problems may have been down to a lack of calcium. As a result, I’ve changed the mineral buckets.

By the time you read this breeding will have started, with all animals AI’d once then put to the bull.

We will be trying Charolais and Simmental this year after a long break. I will be needing my new bull soon, who is still on his holidays in Dumfries.

Sam Chesney runs a spring-calving herd of 120 Limousin-cross sucklers in Kircubbin, Northern Ireland. He was 2011 Farmers Weekly Beef Farmer of the Year.

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