Farmer Focus: Maize grain has seen weight gain rocket

I’m not even going to mention the weather. We haven’t made much headway with winter cropping.

We are using the opportunity to drain some bare land, as the old system has done 51 years and is seriously tired out.

One bonus of the wet weather is we’ve had grain maize to feed and have altered the diet.

See also: Growing maize after a wet season: Challenges and solutions

We’ve replaced 3kg of barley with 2.75kg of grain maize and the results have been phenomenal.

The last batch of cattle did 2.25kg a head a day over a 70-day finish period. That is from the first to last day on the farm.

Normally, a grower diet would at best see cattle achieve 1.1kg and a good average overall would be about 1.65kg.

We have been working with Breedr to try to make data collection easier and we are now in full swing.

Everything we do is now synchronised to the Breedr platform. After two weigh-ins, we have the ability to predict figures, giving the processor forward numbers 40 days in advance.

Data can also be pulled from the British Cattle Movement Service , and at the touch of a button, we can tell you breed, sex, age, days on farm and growth rate.

Weighing has also become an easier task. We accessed help from the small grants scheme and have invested in a Ritchie beef weighing monitor. This now gives us real-time weight data collection, which will feed information into the Breedr platform.

We all know data collection is a pain, but if you want to hit a tighter weight specification and give forward numbers to the processor to get the bonuses, we might as well make it as easy as possible.

There seems to be a lot of factors working against us farmers at the moment – the weather, the loss of the badger cull and the fact the Treasury thinks we don’t need British farmers anymore.

If we do run out of food as a result of the recent coronavirus panic buying, I hope the chancellor’s economic adviser, Tim Leunig, is the last in the queue with his ration book after being quoted saying Britain doesn’t need farmers.

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