Robert Neill is constantly defrosting

With Christmas and New Year holidays behind us, hopefully we can get on with some more productive work. The past few weeks have consisted solely of feeding, bedding and defrosting.

The bad weather made travel conditions difficult in the Scottish Borders. One impact is that local butchers have seen an upturn in their sales as a result of many people not being able to travel to the larger supermarkets. We can only hope these people will realise the quality of the meat they have been buying is far superior to supermarket meat.

The cows are a bit leaner than I would have liked after the harsh weather prior to weaning. As a result, we are feeding them more concentrate than usual to get them into a better condition before they start calving in April. We are also diluting silage with wheat straw to make sure the silage clamp will see us through until the spring.

By the end of the month, all cows will have been scanned and blood samples taken from all breeding stock more than 24 months old for the Premium Health Scheme. We scanned the heifers before Christmas, with a 98% result – only 1 of the 64 heifers was not in calf. This is the best result we have ever had and we would like to think the cows’ results will be just as good.

We have submitted a planning application for a long-term grain store. The plan is for a storage shed that will be 160ft x 80ft, with a 30ft x 60ft lean-to on one side to house the grain drier. The occupants of the cottages on the farm have now been notified and, provided there are no objections, we would hope to start work on the site by early spring to allow it to be in use by harvest 2011.


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