Farmer Focus Livestock: Robert Neill looks forward to BVD eradication

July finally brought some long-awaited rain and, although it was too late for cereal crops, it helped the second-cut silage and grazing grass.

Some winter barley has been cut, which enabled us to get some much-needed straw for our fattening cattle. This barley is on a seed contract, which is priced at £20/t above the feed price, so it’s encouraging to see prices rising.

I attended a meeting hosted by NFU Scotland to discuss the proposed BVD eradication plan. The sooner Scotland gets started with this plan, the better as far as we are concerned. We have been testing for BVD for four years and we can see the benefits: Healthier calves; more fertile cows; and less health issues. The cow herd in Scotland will be more profitable when Scotland eradicates this disease.

I had the privilege of chairing our successful annual crop and grassland competition at the beginning of July. There was a high calibre of entries and judges came from Newcastle to Morayshire.

Congratulations must go to the Jackson family from Detchant in north Northumberland, who won the overall prize and kindly hosted the annual farm walk. The judges were particularly impressed with the free-range egg operation run by the family and plans for a farm shop.

We managed to get away for a family holiday in between farm visits and harvest. We had a week in Majorca and relaxed with a few glasses of Sangria. Fortunately, we arrived home just three days before our Kune Kune sow gave birth to a small litter of piglets – only three this time.

By the time you read this, our local shows will have kicked off – first with Kelso. Our son Andrew hopes to show a young Limousin heifer in the young handlers’ class and we are hoping to show another heifer in the continental pure breeds section.

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