Farmer Focus: A talking tour of Wales

I have spent the last month talking. I suppose some of you will say what’s new? I was in Wales with farming connect, but the phrase “have sat nav, will travel” is no use for an Irishman who can’t pronounce Welsh towns.

Joking aside, it was tremendously successful with full houses at all of my talks. Have no fear, the suckler beef industry is safe in Wales.

Read more from our other livestock farmer focus writers 

I travelled nearly 1,000 miles and thanks must go to the main organiser Delana Davies, and also Sarah Yeoman for her hospitality.

Following my Welsh experience, I attended Thomas Steele’s Agrisearch farm walk on feed efficiency. This was a dairy visit and I do not intend to cross over to the dark side, so that’s the rumours  stopped. But it is the sort of visit more farmers should make as we can learn from others across all types of farming systems.

After thinking I had lost my fourth cut of silage, a cut and run operation on 25 October netted 109 bales, which I was really banking on for finishing the bulls next summer. So basically most farming tasks are completed for another year, but feeding, bedding and clipping goes on as usual, of course.

The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute/Livestock and Meat Commision beef conference was held yesterday in Belfast. With a full capacity audience and a varied range of speakers, the day went quickly. What came out of the research and innovation conference? Invest in genetics and genomics, research new ideas, improve grassland management and produce what the markets require.

I had the pleasure of giving the farmer’s view, which I think was well accepted by my peers. Videos from the conference are on you-tube.

Our beef cattle have settled in well and the first draw of Aberdeen Angus will go next week to Tesco and the Foyle group. But once again ABP have come up trumps for the majority of the cattle.

Happy days I hope, with Northern Ireland prices nearing Great Britain prices at last.

So it’s back to the grindstone and before I know it the kids (though not kids any more) will be home from uni and it will be Christmas. 

Sam Chesney runs a spring-calving herd of 120 Limousin cross sucklers in Kircubbin, Northern Ireland. He was 2011 Farmers Weekly Beef Farmer of the Year