Farmer Focus: Victor Chestnutt on DARD

I’m writing this article after leaving my daughters’ British Blue cattle in Balmoral for our Royal show. Looking around the cattle stalls, it’s amazing how over-fit some cattle are. Ours may be suffering slightly, but I feel they are functional and hope what they lack in flesh they make up for in style and mobility.

Although not wanting to devote every article to the weather, I feel after a horrendous few weeks andwith many farmers still with springbarley to sow, the acreage devotedto cropping in this area will continueto fall. The amount of field work still to be done in NI may have had a negative effect on the number of farmers attending Balmoral.

It was a pleasant surprise to achieve a record price of 7600gns for Clougher Enoch, an Aberdeen Angus bull. My son David is trying to claim the credit for this, as the bull’s mother was one of his first purchases on his own five years ago.

We should have had two Angus bulls at the Dungannon sale, but forgetting to register a calf with DARD, although registered with the Angus Society, meant otherwise.

It seems genuine mistakes are not allowed to be made by a farmer, as this calf has been the subject of numerous phone calls and letters over a two-year period during which rules seemed to change and goalposts move, which ended up costing me a DNA parentage check to prove something I already knew.

DARD staff locally should have more powers to sort out genuine errors when they perceive this to be the case. But some stories have a happy ending, as this bull has found a home since his restrictions have been removed.

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