Calving going well for Sam Chesney

As I sit here in the winter sun of early April with views of the snowy Scottish coast, the Isle of Man and, closer to home, the Dromara hills, I am thankful the worst we had of the weather was a little sleet. Antrim and Down bore the brunt of the snow, with many sheep and cows lost.

Mr Tesco has announced he will be buying a larger portion of his beef from Northern Ireland and we should all stand up and cheer. However, I think at 35p/kg cheaper than the mainland, this is a more commercial decision than helping local farmers survive.

Calving is in full swing, with about 50 calved within a week. All calves have been tagged with BVD tissue tags as I am part of the BVD eradication programme for Northern Ireland.

Synchronised heifers have calved well. A large portion of the calves from the main herd are British Blue and Limousin. I recently purchased a further Blue and Blonde bull for the coming season. My aim is to produce bulls under 16 months at 400kgs, with carcass gains between 0.8kg and 0.97kg/day.

It’s been a hard lambing with the few sheep I have. We have lost a few to toxoplasma, so will have to evaluate this before next year. On the positive side, I have a glamorous blonde helper who likes feeding lambs – my partner, Sinead.

Watching all the weather and world unrest I sometimes wonder if farmers ran the world would it have got this bad. No farmers, no food, no future.

Follow me on twitter @samchesney1 or email

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.

More on this topic

More articles from Sam Chesney

Read more from our other livestock farmer focus writers

See more