Farmer focus livestock: Robert Neill on grazing

Yearling cattle are back at Upper Nisbet from their winter accommodation and, after being weighed and wormed, are now settled into their grazing fields.

Cattle were batched according to weight, with a stocking density of 720kg/acre. Here’s hoping for a good grazing season allowing us to get some decent daily liveweight gains from grass.

Breeding bulls have had their annual MOT: Feet trimmed and a semen sample taken from each one so we can be sure of a good mating season. We were short of replacement heifers to go to the bull in June, so for the first time we will be calving some heifers at 24 months.

I hope by the time you read this the first cut of silage at my brother’s dairy farm will be well under way. Once their silage is finished, cutting first-cut for the beef cows can commence at Upper Nisbet.

The most profitable day of the yearso far was completing the single farm payment and land managersoptions forms. The time spent goingthrough this process is less than in previous years when paper versions of these forms were completed.

Form filling online has become straightforward, especially since the data from the previous years’ application are already populated. All I needed to do was update the cropping details and tick a few boxes. Calculations are done automatically, reducing the risk of errors. It’s encouraging to see the Scottish Office this year is promoting improved health of livestock through the introduction of their Animal Welfare Management Programme.

I was meant to be judging at the inaugural Scottish Limousin Club Show and Sale at Lanark Agricultural Centre. But it has been cancelled due to a lack of support. Our support is now focused on Jac’s efforts to run the Edinburgh Marathon, cheering her over the finishing line.

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