Farmer Focus: Huge thanks owed after cattle breakout

Same clouds, same sky, different storm. Progress at Osgodby Grange is like pulling teeth at the moment.

The land is so saturated it seems like it doesn’t want to dry out.

On a slightly more positive note, we managed to combine the grain maize, with the help of Neil Welburn’s floating combine (tracks and four-wheel drive).

It was quite amazing where that combine could travel, because we could not walk across some parts of the field. Saying that, we did need new pants after one close encounter.

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The cattle kill has been relentless, and we have drawn, clipped and processed 600 cattle in six weeks for kill.

I can only talk from my point of view, but our yard looks decidedly empty. There will be no great numbers of fat cattle coming through in the short term.

If all the other big feeders are the same, surely we will see a lift in the price.

The farming community is amazing. We had a “Pen 13 breakout”. Things were proper code red – Defcon 3, cattle everywhere.

I put a short message on our local “poacher watch” WhatsApp channel and within minutes, at least 15 people arrived from far and wide to help us get the cattle back in.

Can I say a massive thank you to everyone involved and I haven’t forgotten about “Pen 13” beer night.

This month we had our annual APHA (Animal and Plant Health Agency) cattle inspection. Each year, not only do we have to pass all the standard criteria, but year-on-year additional tests and procedures are tacked on.

This year’s visit was thorough and fair. but with the addition of testing heifer urine samples.

So, after an extremely long wait in the crush, a sample was obtained. When I asked what APHA was testing for I was told illegal substances, like Rumensin and other banned products.

How ironic is it that we jump through every hoop to provide traceability second to none, and offer ultra-high welfare and feed standards, and yet we are contemplating importing beef from Uganda.

Doug Dear is a Farmer Focus writer from Yorkshire. Read his biography.