Calves thriving despite poor weather

Summer in September seems to be the norm of recent years and cows and calves are thriving, with the sun on their backs and plenty of grass in front of them. Angus heifers and steers being finished under contract for Blade are now in and doing well.

We’ve just finished trimming and pre-movement testing 30 stores for Salisbury market; hopefully waiting for harvest and drilling to finish will pay dividends. The bull calves are well into their creep feed, but I’ll need a long hard look at whether to castrate them. Feed prices are on the up and the ramifications of this terrible summer look set to rumble on. I’m sure the future is sure to be more about forage-based systems.

The cattle barn is finished or at least the roof is on and we’re now trying to maximise its potential by looking at how we position feeder gates and incorporate a pen and handling system. Using rainwater run-off from the roof is also proving a challenge.

With that project nearly completed and after many months of pondering we’ve finally bitten the bullet and decided to go ahead with converting a 17th century barn into a wedding/function venue. My catering business takes me off the farm more than I would like and this affords me the opportunity to build the business from home.

Minette Batters farms 120ha (300 acres) on a tenant farm on the Longford Estate in south Wiltshire. The farm carries 100 continental-bred suckler cows, with males finished as bull beef, some sold as stores and the others finished and sold to local butchers. The enterprise also includes a catering business and horse livery. She is NFU county chairwoman for Wiltshire and founder of Ladies in Beef

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