Cattle outstay their time inside, says John Bainbridge

The current cold changeable spell of weather has slowed grass growth and made turning out difficult. After my annual visit from the foot-trimming man, most of the cattle are usually outside by now. It definitely feels like they have overstayed their welcome this year.

The last batch of calves is now being born and I had an unexpected arrival of twins from a Limousin cross heifer. This is the second one to have twins this year. While a delight to see, one calf is usually enough for a first-time calver, even though a spare calf can often come in useful.

Recently I took a few soil samples from under-performing meadow grassland and found they were short on pH and some key minerals. This has now been remedied. I only hope the vast number of rabbits are not the only ones to reap the rewards.

During this period mis-mothering among sheep is often a headache. Shepherding and keeping lambs in the correct fields is a daily chore. They never seem to be able to get back as easily as they managed to escape; when you have got old weary legs and a steady dog it can be frustrating trying to catch them.

Early signs are slightly negative in the sheep market. In our area, hoggs with lambs at foot have struggled to reach last year’s prices. I wonder if this will be a trend for the coming season – I certainly hope not.

Read more from John Bainbridge

Read more from all our other Livestock Farmer Focus writers

See more