Farmer Focus: Success at bull sales

November temperatures are still extremely mild for the time of year. That’s never good when housing cattle, especially young calves, but great for the grass growth as the cast hill ewes head down to Newhouse for tupping.

Our autumn sales are over and it’s been a productive time. We’ve managed to get more money for our tups than we spent on new ones. Hopefully it wasn’t all beginner’s luck at Lairg market, when our first ever cheviot tup sold off Auldallan made 3,200gns. It was a really wet day, with all the rams penned outside, but ideal for spotting sheep with bad skins.

Our new tri-axel livestock trailer with wheels on the outside – instead of underneath – stuck to the road perfectly, making the four-hour journey a pleasant one.

All nine heifers found new owners at the bull sales, with a homozygous black Limousin making the top price from the pen at 4,100gns. The spring-born glen calves sold well, straight off their mothers at Forfar mart, to average 254p/kg and £958 a head. This was up £20 from last year, mostly for Charolais-crosses out of Simmental cross Luing mothers. With the local Young Farmers calf overwintering competition starting, there were some fierce bidding battles for single lots and we wish all our Young Farmers purchasers good luck.

All the cattle are now housed, with both silage pits open. Again we have whole-crop along with grass and red clover silage. The silage analysis has shown a poorer sample than last year, with lower protein levels. It is just as well the field beans were a good crop, as they will make a handy addition to the feed ration. They have been through the dryer twice and all will be used on the farm. Going by the dryer fills, we have about 6t/ha.

Winter crops are looking well – the stubble neeps are thick and the lambs are now munching into them. We haven’t been through any of the lambs yet, as the fat trade doesn’t look great, so we will leave them to grow on.

Bob and Kay Adam run 100 pedigree Limousin and Charolais cows on their 222ha family farm in Angus and rent a 728ha hill farm running 640 ewes and 30 suckler cows.