Farmer Focus: May has been tricky for selling cattle

Now then, it’s been a hard month for marketing cattle. We have used up our allocation and we could have done with selling more.

Bank holidays have reduced kill days and consumer demand is sluggish.

This has combined with the release of a large amount of beef coming back out of cold store that was stockpiled for our exit out of Europe in March.

This puts the beef producer on the back foot when negotiating the price, with us now negotiating places into kill and not the price.

See also: How a beef farmer has shaved 90 days off finishing time

The young bulls are performing well, with a kill-out percentage of 58%. They really are solid, averaging 372kg dead at 13.32 months old.

The Herefords in the yard have been kept over for four weeks on the trot. My dilemma is whether I wait for the premium buyer, letting them go up another fat score, or cashing them in now as standard cattle at a lower price.

Our early-drilled maize has had a serious knock. We got a hard frost in early May so the later-drilled maize has now overtaken the earlier maize.

There is a small amount of maize drilled after grass and with hindsight we should have put seed dressing on it.

Wire worm is hammering it and we are probably down to 69,000 plants/ha, well adrift of the 103,000 we want.

We will no longer have the neonicotinoid thiacloprid in our armoury next year, so drilling maize after grass is going to be a serious challenge.

Here at Osgodby Grange we put on a biannual school trip, and we are expecting 40 kids from my daughter’s school to visit. 

We feel it is very important to educate the kids, and even more so the teachers, to redress the balance and put a positive message across about modern agriculture.

We recently let our yard out for the day to a major manufacturer to do a product evaluation on a bedding machine.

Perhaps they were just having problems with their accuracy or the wind was strong, but I have realised that I can double my capacity if I bed up on to the pen roof as well!

Doug Dear is a Farmer Focus writer from Yorkshire. Read his biography.