Falling cattle prices and rising feed costs are a concern

We have had yet another 30 days of unsavoury weather for this time of year – heavy downpours, floods and then the odd sunny day or two.

Last month I said we were aiming to harvest second-cut in the first week in August, but we went a week earlier on 26 July; we were fortunate to get the grass wilted after six hours of strong sunshine, resulting in little or no run from the silo pit.

Farmyard manure has been spread over the silage ground and all slurry tanks are now emptied ready for winter storage. We bought in a lorry load of round bales of last year’s hay at £23 a bale; my late father always said fodder in the shed was like money in the bank. The Northern Ireland Met Office has offically announced that we now have had six bad summers on the trot. The question now is how many more can we suffer.

Alan and Lee won the H2 Engineering Junior Charolais bull calf final at Clogher show with a homebred Thurnton Bonjovi-sired calf and they also won the 2012 British Blue calf class- two happy boys that evening.

The continuous bad weather conditions has had an effect on live cattle prices with a fall of £80 to £100 a head, and factories have been pulling quotes back for finished cattle and lambs. This is a very worrying move as the price of meal is rising nearly every week. Some farmers are now sending their finished lambs across to Great Britain for slaughter and they are getting a better return even after haulage is paid.

Andrew Burleigh farms a mixed farm and runs a traditional butcher’s shop in south-west Fermanagh with his wife, Rosalind, and sons Alan and Lee. The home farm is run by his brother and nephew, and is home to a Beltex pedigree flock along side a commercial flock, suckler cows, stores and beef cattle.

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