Winter has arrived in earnest with a big drop in temperature and a couple of hard frosts to wake us up in the morning.
We are well ahead of our winter work with 90% of cattle clipped, wormed and housed with just a small group of dry cows still out grazing.
The housed dry cows and in-calf heifers are probably 0.5 a condition score fitter than I would like in December, so have gone on to some average hay and mineral buckets. I am sure with this kind of ration we will get them back where I would like them ready to calf in March/April.
We are AI’ing a group of bulling heifers to have some bulls born in September next year. With calving patterns shifting, we are getting more interest in autumn-born Angus bulls, so we are moving to having an autumn block of cows and heifers.The heifers are showing really good heats, so fingers crossed for good conception rates.
I am using the new number 1 Aberdeen Angus bull for shortening gestation length, Oakchurch Duke, as our customers are getting more and more interested in tightening their calving blocks. We already have a small block of October and November calvers, so we are going to bull these as quickly as possible to drag them back into September if we can.
The winter farming meeting season is in full flow. I had the great pleasure of chairing the Malvern Farming Conference, and I have to say Defra minister George Eustice spoke really well and made a lot of great points on the future of our industry. He was challenged in a really positive way by Minette Batters, who is doing a super job of being the public face of the NFU.
I am on the panel next week with a group of MPs, tackling the thorny subject of TB and I hope we continue to hear positive messages that “doing nothing is not as an option”. One of these meetings is the same day as my wedding anniversary, so Mrs W is less than impressed with my commitment to the industry.