Farmer Focus Livestock: Harvest conditions better for Robert Neill

Harvest eventually started at Upper Nisbet on the last day of July, two weeks earlier than last year, with conditions a lot better than they have been previously.

Moisture content has ranged from 14.7% to 17%, which should help cut down on drying costs. It’s also good to have some fresh, golden straw to bed the cattle, rather than the black, weathered straw we have recently been using.

Second-cut silage has also been done and it looks as if we have enough winter fodder in the clamp for another winter. We organised a demonstration of a Pottinger 6.9m twin-rotor rake, which enabled us to put two rows of grass into one before lifting.

Calving has now ended. It dragged on for longer than usual, but it is always better to have a late calf than no calf at all.

The new cattle crush has improved handling substantially. Our vet seemed to be impressed on a recent visit to PD some cows. Even the more excitable cows could be easily restrained with the squeeze motion.

We entered a homebred 14-month-old bull at two of our local shows this year. At Kelso Show the class he was in had nine entries which consisted of five different Continental breeds – a difficult task for the Judge. Our son Andrew also took his yearling Limousin heifer in the young handlers and managed a creditable third out of 13 entries. Thankfully, she didn’t stand on his toes until he was out of the judging ring.

We also had success in the Borders Crop and Grassland Competition when we won the Championship class. As a result we hosted a farm walk, which took place on a sunny evening, attracting about 75 local farmers and businessmen. No doubt many of them were having a good look around to see whether they thought the had judges made the right decision.

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