Livestock Farmer Focus: Robert and Jac Neill find Kune Kune popular

Cows and heifers are vaccinated and ready for calving. After weaning a bit late and coming inside a bit leaner they have picked up well on the silage and straw ration. I just hope we have enough straw to last until turnout.

Breeding replacement heifers have also been vaccinated as well as freeze branded. Having heifers branded makes recording mating dates easier as they never lose the brand.

We are hoping for an early spring as we have lots of work ahead of us which includes replenishing all the poached and rutted grass land. We will have to make sure grass fields are in prime condition since we are hosting the British Grassland Society’s summer trip on 7 July. It is expected this event will attract delegates from all over the UK and Ireland.

Last month was a busy one for meetings. It included a meeting on cross compliance; speaking at a conference on the pros and cons of applying for Scottish Rural Development Programme grants; meeting with the accountant; and finally a meeting with the bank manager. We think this year we might ask the bank for a copy of their financial accounts so we can decide whether they are in a position to look after our business.

The KuneKune piglets have proven to be a popular attraction. We have decided to keep three of the gilts and to sell the other one gilt and three boars.

The final results have been worked out for the Border Federation of Young Farmers’ Cattle Fattening Competition that we have run over the winter. The competition involved us setting up a mock sale ring in our cattle handling facilities, and an auctioneer “selling” the heifers to the Young Farmers. Once the heifers are sold prime, the sale prices are used to work out the competition winner who made the most profit between buying and selling.

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