Farmer Focus Livestock: Snow stops building work for Robert Neill

Six inches of snow and sub-zero temperatures have halted the construction of our new cattle shed.

While waiting for the thaw to arrive we set about our next project. This involves the conversion of an old tin straw shed into an additional seven calving pens. These will incorporate automatic head yolks, which will be used for suckling calves or training young stock.

The area we are converting will require a new floor and concrete wall panels as well as new gates. Once the gates are made I will be having a trip to the galvanisers. We have decided galvanising in the long run is cheaper than painting. I hope the new pens will be fully functional in time for calving this year.

On the same day the snow fell we were expecting a group of students from County Tipperary, Ireland, to visit the farm. Unfortunately, their bus wouldn’t have made it up the farm road, so I went to talk to them all at St Boswells Mart.

We managed a family weekend away during half term, which fortunately coincided with the Limousin bull sale at Carlisle. Our holiday destination at Penrith was only half an hour away from the market, so I managed to make it to the show on the Friday and back again on the Saturday to the sale.

I realised that sale day was also Valentine ‘s Day, so returned home with the Senior Reserve Champion from John Logan’s Homebyres herd for Jac. Who needs flowers? I did eventually manage to get back to the family break and, having done lots of swimming and cycling, we are now all refreshed and ready for spring to arrive. Thankfully, when we returned the snow had all melted and the temperatures had risen.

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