Farmer Focus: Forage situation looks to have improved

Our house is full of new year resolutions, lots of healthy eating and exercise planned by the ladies – not the men.

I have learned there is no point in making promises I can’t keep, so pass me the last few Christmas chocolates and I will clear them up – what an awesome husband I am.

It’s been a hectic few months in the shop. Lots of processing of private kills for smallholders and farmers, as well as our own home-reared Christmas turkeys. Not to mention all the extra beef we process at this time of year.

It was great to have such a fantastic team in place again this festive period with, at times, four of the kids helping out. Can’t believe the incredible positive feedback we have had again this year.  

See also: Guide to feed planning and forage for finishing lambs

Two-thirds of our “hangover” cattle are now gone so we should have some surplus fodder beet.  I’m very pleased with the kill out (percentage) but not the price – what a year to have an additional feed bill.

The younger “normal” cattle are looking really well. They have been on swift and silage up to Boxing Day and then they started into this year’s “field TMR” which is swedes, good silage and the surprise of the winter, the continuing growing kale.

They seem to be really enjoying the swedes and our baled silage is as good as it’s been (ME 11.1), which is showing in the cattle.

Crops have stood up well to the winter so far and it looks like I will have surplus. I am planning to use the surplus swift to finish the last of the lambs and should have enough to graze the ewes with the surplus fodder beet.

I am not sure exactly what 2019 holds but I am convinced that we are in for a rough ride whatever happens in March.


Michael Shannon is a Farmer Focus writer farming in Lanarkshire. Read his biography