Robert Neill may consider selling cattle as stores

Having recently visited bull sales at Carlisle and Stirling, it was interesting to see that pedigree bull breeders are now only bringing forward quality animals that are going to sell and get through the pre-sale inspection.

There has been a high clearance rate at recent sales with increased averages. Animals that are not sold as breeding bulls can attain high prices as prime cattle, without the work involved in preparing bulls for pedigree sales.

Store cattle are currently selling at an all-time high. We are wondering if the purchasers know something that we don’t. We might have to consider whether we should be selling our cattle as stores rather than finishing all of them prime. We will have to analyse the costs of finishing our yearling calves to make a decision about which way to go.

We have recently had the final winter meeting for the Climate Change Focus Farm study. The meeting was held at Floors Castle Estate near Kelso, where they have installed a wood chip boiler. This was an interesting project that uses the soft wood grown on the estate and has reduced their energy bills considerably. Although most farms could not justify a boiler on this scale, there are smaller options available if the fuel source is available.

Farmyard manure has all been spread and ploughed in. The last day of spreading proved to be too much for one of our older tractors. It is currently undergoing major surgery and it is not clear whether it will survive to see another day of work.

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