FARMER FOCUS: Shearing finished and bulling under way

At last we have seen some sunshine. Unfortunately most of it has been viewed either from a hospital bed or from my bedside, having been hit by a mysterious virus, which resulted in an ankle operation; life has not been so great.

The good news is I am on the mend and having had time to sit back from my business, it allows you to evaluate and look at things from a different perspective. I must give thanks to all my family and to Andrew, my stockman, for managing everything so well in my absence.

Shearing took place without too much trouble, and the weather was reasonably kind to us. The sheep work is all up to date. Everything has been wormed, vaccinated and fly-treated. Despite lamb numbers being down this year, I think the overall quality seems to be good and we shall start to draw lambs in the next few weeks.

The bulls went in on 20 June. This year I have a complete new line-up, with some exciting new bloodlines from imported embryos from the US. All four bulls have an excellent EBV figures for growth, muscle depth and calving ease. Most excitingly of all it looks as though they are also going to perform well for net feed efficiency, as similar bloodlines have excelled on the NFE trial in Yorkshire. Grass growth has come just at the right time and allowed the cows to be bulled in peak condition.

I have also had the results of my Stabiliser bulls that I sent away to a well-known NFU vice-president’s feed lot. The good news is that they have performed well, growing at 1.66kg a day and have also left me a good margin. Hopefully, this will prove to be good example of farmers working together and showing trust in each other, allowing me to bull more cows and him to keep his feed lot full, resulting in all-round benefits.

By the time you read this I will have helped judge the finalists for Beef Farmer of the Year – something I’m really looking forward to, and hopefully I can learn something. All finalists look great and due to the fact they are all from Wales, we can talk rugby – as long as it’s the Lions, of course.

As last year’s winner, I shall be opening my gates for an farm open day on 17 July. For more details see the EBLEX website.

James Evans farms 300 Stabiliser suckler cows and 1,110 Llen cross ewes across two units, totalling 825ha, in Shropshire. He was 2012 Farmers Weekly Beef Farmer of the Year

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