Christmas and New Year celebrations now seem to be a distant past; January was not a bad month for Fermanagh farmers, weather wise a fairly dry and mild month with the longer days and brighter evenings giving the ground a chance to soak out.
Our thoughts now turn to lambing time – some pure Beltex were lambed indoors at the end of January. They are kept in a recently converted old silo pit on straw bedding and fed precision chop silage with a ewe and lamb mix to keep the milk to the ewes.
The first of our home-reared Charolais heifers out of Thurnton Bonjovi – our stock bull we purchased at Perth in Feburary 2008 where he was overall champion and cost 10,000gns – are now calving down with no calving problems and they have plenty of milk which is great to see.
The Perth Bull Sales are looming again and the usual long trip from Fermanagh beckons with two Simmental bulls and one Charolais bull. Alan always says we hope for a good sales return but you’re never sure until the hammer goes down. On the breeding front Alan is flushing a Charolais heifer and a British Blue heifer, and personally I believe flushing is all pure luck as to whether you get results or not.
The new year cattle prices have carried on from 2011 with all types commanding top prices in the rings, weanlings still making double their weight and more for the choice ones. All sheep prices are still just unbelieveable. Fertiliser prices that we have been quoted are about the same as last year: £350/t for 20.10.10. The uncertainty of the euro is deepening more as each week goes by and you have to wonder will it survive at all or is it doomed?
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Farmer Focus Livestock: Andrew Burleigh