Farmer Focus: Demand strong for Stabiliser heifers

The weather has been fantastic, allowing us to get our silage safely in the clamp and all the winter barley and oilseed rape combined with no drying and with more straw than we have seen for years, writes James Evans.

By the time you read this, we will have weaned our lambs and an artic load will have been sold straight off the farm. Trying to build a good working relationship is something that I really enjoy about farming and selling lambs this way is great way that suits all parties involved.

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As with most price negotiations, I knew we had to be somewhere about right, as he thought he’d paid too much and I thought it was too little. I’m sure that’s how a good number of deals have been negotiated over time.

I have also been faced with a bittersweet moment that I still find hard to get my head round. Heifer sales have gone too well and I now have more demand than I have heifers. At least I have confirmed to myself that I need to spend extra on sexed Stabiliser semen this year.

Calving starts on 1 September and I’m really interested to see how the new bulls have performed and also the results of a few cows I AI’d with British Blue and Charolais semen.

Don’t worry this is not a change in direction – I just felt I needed to answer the question that so many people have asked: “Great cows, but what are they like to a Charolais or Blue?” Watch this space.

We also have a new addition to our workforce, who has settled in really well. I’m sure it’s always difficult on any farm to start a new job at a busy time of year when perhaps some things are explained in a rush or presumptions are just made, but its great to have new enthusiasm on the farm and Dewi will be a real asset.

Having someone young on the farm helps in many ways. But it also reinforces how middle-aged I have become. When did that happen?

James Evans farms 300 Stabiliser suckler cows and 1,110 Lleyn-cross ewes across two units, totalling 825ha, in Shropshire. He was 2012 Farmers Weekly Beef Farmer of the Year.