Robert and Jac Neill praise farm staff

All grazing cattle are now inside with their backs all clipped. Hopefully, this will prevent them from sweating. We have also started to vaccinate and worm spring-born calves in preparation for weaning. If the weather doesn’t improve they will be brought inside quicker, which will make for a longer and more expensive winter.

We finished harvesting just before the storm arrived during the last week of September. Unfortunately the wheat straw was quite green when we combined the wheat and we were unable to bale it straight behind the combine. At the time of writing we still have about 100 acres of straw still to bale.

Like most of the country, the September storms brought havoc to the Scottish Borders. It is funny how things work out, but we actually had no water that day – inside the house anyway. A nearby tree that had fallen down had managed to pull up the water main with its roots. The water company arrived promptly to fix the problem, but they didn’t manage to fix it before their working day was finished. Several more hours passed before the backup team arrived to eventually turn the water back on. Thankfully our staff doesn’t go home at 5pm on a harvest day, because they have worked all of their hours. As farmers we all appreciate the hard work that our staff do, especially in a difficult year like this where harvesting happened late into the night sometimes and almost always over weekends.

Robert and Jac Neill run 300 Limousin-cross cows on 1,082 acres at Upper Nisbet in the Scottish Borders. They farm 600 acres of cereals, and all progeny from the suckler herd are finished on home-grown fodder and sold live throughout the year to local butchers. Robert was 2006 Farmers Weekly Beef Farmer of the Year.

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