Farmer Focus Livestock: Jolyon Higgs gets on with hedge work

A week skiing and visiting daughter Laura in Austria, as overnight temperatures at Cwmfron plunged to -9C, was great fun. But the day after I returned, searing shoulder pains revealed torn muscles and so the past fortnight has seen me at less than half power.

Two hundred and eight seven Welsh Mules scanned 180% with 22 sets of triplets, and four barrens. Ground is now saturated and ewes are tucking into silage. Fencing and hedging work under our Tir Gofal scheme started well, but the frost and then rain has prevented us completing the work on steep ground.

The Welsh Assembly is conducting a survey to study the reasons for joining and leaving agri-environment schemes. I joined to get financial help with a variety of environmental projects. But I would consider leaving because of the excessive burden of irrelevent paperwork.

I recently bought 80 D1000 bales of wheat straw for £13 each at a fodder sale in Hereford. Prices seemed firm, with small-bale meadow hay making up to £2.90 a bale and silage bales making more than £13 a bale.

In Gower finishing cattle are progressing well and three loads are booked to go in February. Heifers are gaining 0.96kg a day on a silage-only diet and steers are receiving 1.5kg of cereals with forage and gaining 1.3kg a day.

Mark from Dovecote has been to see how things are going with the cattle. Two barren British Blue cows weighing 700kg sold for £1.15/kg liveweight. Twelve heifers have started calving a little before the cows and have all had live calves so far.

Twenty acres of fodder beet have been lifted at about 40t/acre. A local dairy farmer has taken several loads and the rest is being fed to sheep.

See more