Farmer Focus: Bull sales fever begins

Bull sales fever has hit. Our 10 bulls have completed the final stages of their education and social media has been used, with Facebook and You Tube keeping many of our customers updated.

We have one Charolais and nine Limousin bulls heading to Stirling. Five are black and three are homozygous black. By the time you read this we’re hoping they all have new stickers in their passports.

The lambs on the neeps have been in training for the Commonwealth Games, with the high jump their chosen discipline. It’s been a tough job keeping them on the correct side of the sheep nets this year. They have been weighing and grading well, straight off the turnips, but the weather is changing and the feed hoppers are now out. We hope this will help keep the cover on them and stop them trailing. We split a batch of Blackface and Cheviot lambs last week, selling half deadweight, of which more than two-thirds killed out at E- and U-grades, with a base price of £4.05/kg paid. The mart lot reached a top price of £91 for 47kg, but after all the sums were done, deadweight was the best deal. But we’re still hoping prices will take a jump.

Malting barley contracts have been signed with little enthusiasm from our grain trader or ourselves. With no form of long-term storage, we must rely on uplift after harvest, so a contract will guarantee a buyer. We’ll be growing high-nitrogen Belgravia and low-nitrogen Odyssey this season.

A lack in frosty mornings has meant few opportunities to get the cattle courts emptied and dung out without making too much mess. Instead, rain has been in abundance and our drainer has been called in. The volume of water is forcing old stone field drains to the limit and top soil is getting a swift move out of fields – even the neeps have been getting washed out of the drills.

As we write this the back hills are getting covered in snow, the birds are singing and the snow drops are out. Are we in for another uncanny spring?

Bob and Kay Adam run 100 pedigree Limousin and Charolais cows on their 222ha family farm in Angus and rent a 728ha hill farm running 640 ewes and 30 suckler cows.

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