FARMER FOCUS: Farm visits coming thick and fast

Well I’m going to miss the biggest night of the year, for farming folk, the Farmers Weekly Awards. It’s a night to behold, and if you ever get a chance to go, grab the opportunity.

The awards, taking place next week, are like the farming equivalent of the Oscars, with a touch of showbiz and a jolly good pat on the back for British farmers. Well done and good luck to all the nervous finalists. The winners will have a packed year of visits, tours and lunches and the responsibility to show British farming at its best. A special good luck to the three Northern Ireland finalist – Colin, Martin and Russell, we always box above our weight.

Back home, visits are coming thick and fast. We recently held an Agrisearch heifer synchronisation day, which was well attended and raised lots of questions.

Silage analysis for first and second cuts says I have made rocket fuel and my DARD adviser worked out a forkful was worth 50p. With third cut safely in and grass sprayed off for reseeding, hopefully it will be in the ground by the time you read this.

We are about to house some beef cattle for hard finishing followed by heifers. It’s been a mad dash getting calves vaccinated while I still have the help of my kids before they return to Harper and Greenmount .

Grass is getting a bit tight, probably because I cut too much, but the aftermath, although not much good at this time of year, will prolong our grazing season and allow calves to be weaned. To ease pressure we have culled a few older cows and have a list of problem cows which will go soon. There is no point carrying passengers and we always have plenty of heifers coming on.

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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