Cattle turnout has been three weeks late, with grass very limited, but what a difference a month of fine weather makes.
The summer calvers are just at the drop and now on the Newhouse weight-watchers diet of very little grass, straw and molasses. We have 15 Charolais embryos to implant in September, so some high-health heifers have been sourced for recipients; they are Hereford cross Simmentals and hopefully should do the job well.
The hill lambs have all been cut, dosed and vaccinated, with pour-on applied to keep the tick at bay. The grass did come and has provided a much-needed fresh bite. Feed and drench costs have been horrendously high, but along with good work from shepherd Brian, we had less ewe losses and an excellent crop of lambs – I think it’s been money well spent. The ewe hoggs have been clipped – it’s never the best job rolling the wool when the sheep have been sheltering in gorse bushes for most of the spring.
As far as the crops go, the beans are flowering and the winter barley has all headed, but is very sparse in places due to snow rot. The spring barley has got over the stress and is now looking a healthier shade of green and the turnips are managing to grow despite the constant threat from pigeons.
About 22ha of first-cut silage filled the pit. It came in nice and dry. Quantity was well back, but hopefully quality will be improved. The hay field is ready and waiting for a favourable forecast.
We have just returned from our annual family trip to the Royal Highland Show. We don’t show any livestock, but granny’s sheep and a friend’s cattle are borrowed as the boys enjoy taking part in the young handler competitions. Both of them got prizes and Andrew ended up reserve champion cattle handler. As always the trade stands were a great draw and a wish list has been drawn up featuring 28-feet livestock trailers, pickup trucks and squeeze cattle crushes. It was again a great show, all made better by the good weather and some very impressive livestock.
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