Farmer Focus: Bull mishap had us worried

During the past week, we completed our annual organic inspection. This coincided with our Farm Assured Welsh Livestock inspection. 

The timing was ideal, as it’s a quieter period of the year. It is often conducted during springtime, which is much busier.

See also: Why farmers should prepare for growing polled bull choice

About the author

Dafydd Parry Jones
Dafydd Parry Jones and wife Glenys, Machynlleth, Powys, run a closed flock of 750 Texel and Aberfield cross ewes and 70 Hereford cross sucklers cows on 180ha. Their upland organic system uses Hereford bulls, Charollais terminal sires and red clover silage, multispecies leys and rotational grazing.
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It also gave the inspectors an opportunity to view the cattle in their winter housing.

We’ve been fortunate to receive supporting payments from the Welsh government for organic production for more than 20 years.

Unfortunately, along with many other environmental payments, these are coming to an end before long. 

As we approach the end of the year, it is a time to reflect on the year that has passed.

We often find ourselves talking about the weather, and certainly the highlight was that gloriously sunny weather throughout May, and on into June. That was our summer. 

Opportunities to leave the farm for days out always bring fond memories. 

One of them was experiencing a fantastic day climbing up Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) with my daughter, and basking in the sunshine on the summit, eating our picnic, and appreciating the spectacular views. 

Over the past two years, I’ve been part of the organising team for the British Grassland Society. The summer meeting was held at Bangor, North Wales, at the end of June.

The three-day event was a very enjoyable experience, visiting excellent family farms and experimental college farms. It was a chance to catch up with old friends, and make new ones, and we had an excellent time. 

The low point of the year was going to the cattle shed one morning in May, only to find that our main bull, a Hereford, had jumped a gate. He was lying on the floor, with his leg still trapped between the bars. 

With some quick action using a grinder on the gate, we got his leg free. My initial thought was that we’d have to put him down. But, after pain relief injections and two months’ rest, he was turned out to the cows, with our other bull. 

We scanned the cows in the autumn and only two were empty. Therefore, a sad story did have a happy ending. 

Blwyddyn Newydd Dda i chi gyd (a prosperous new year to you all) for 2024.