Farmer Focus: Grass growth is slow but beef prices on the up

We have had the coldest May on record and June is not looking much better.

Grass growth averaged about 56kg/DM a day, so we are still behind. Silage will be high quality, but not bulky here.

See also: Read more from our other Farmer Focus writers 

The main priorities this month were AI’ing the breeding cows and heifers once, before introducing the new bull to sweep.

Newhouse Ivanhoe arrived home in luxury and in tiptop condition from Andrew Ewing’s Dumfries lairage.

Thanks for a great job. Ivanhoe has been turned out along with a Blonde, Aberdeen Angus and British Blue.

The first batch of bulls have gone, averaging 404kg and 65% were graded E.

Prices have just lifted this week, so more will go soon.

“I tried to explain to Tesco that it has missed the trick that discounters haven’t: local food from local farms for local families.”
Sam Chesney

As people get into the holiday mood I have hosted a couple of farm visits: Pembrokeshire Grassland Society and the Aberdeen Angus quality beef group with Tesco.

Both were good visits and there was plenty to discuss.

I tried to explain to Tesco that it has missed the trick that discounters haven’t: local food from local farms for local families.

In many cases it already has the produce in store, but haven’t promoted it well enough.

That day finished off with 60 Aberdeen Angus barbecued steaks – thanks to Foyle Food Group for their support for this event.

While at the bull sales I came across a device to monitor calving.

The Moocall is strapped to the cow’s tail and sends text alerts at or near calving.

Less intrusive than other devices on the market, I can’t wait to try it.

Some of my friends have already and are delighted with it.

We all have that cow that needs watching and this could save hours of wasted time.


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.