Farmer Focus: Recognition for top grassland management

It must be an age thing, but time definitely does fly by. At this time of year the rush is on to get the third cut done, slurry on, straw home and reseeding started.

Not forgetting the all-important calf vaccination and moving cows so they will be near to home at housing and weaning, hopefully towards the end of October.

I had a pleasant surprise when the British Grassland Society rated me as one of the top three grassland farmers in the UK and spent an afternoon with me looking at the way I grow grass and raise beef in this part of the world.

I’ll wait with bated breath for the final results next month. As it happens, I will be in Wales next month with Farming Connect to give a series of talks on my system and how I try to be efficient.

Key topics will include my grassland management and how to eke out a profit from beef or, should I say, how to minimise losses.

At this time of year I also like to look at our forage stores and calculate requirements going forward. The plan next year is to sow some lucerne and red clover to help balance our TMR and make more use of home-grown protein in a forage. This will hopefully lead to a saving in our concentrate blend, with the added benefit of fixing nitrogen.

Most of the cows seem to be settled in-calf, with the exception of two sections. However, it’s time for all bulls to be removed from 1 September as we aim to calf down in nine weeks, so bull removal is the easiest way to tighten calving spread.

I’m heading to Glasgow next week to deliver Sinead’s youngest son, Matthew, to medical college. I would have preferred him becoming a vet, but I know it’s for the greater good he chose medicine.

Look out for me in Wales in the week starting 13 October and come and say hello.

Sam Chesney runs a spring-calving herd of 120 Limousin cross sucklers in Kircubbin, Northern Ireland. He was 2011 Farmers Weekly Beef Farmer of the Year.

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