Ewan Brewis 700ha(1750-
acre) farm is split into two
units. Lempitlaw, the main
420ha (1037 acre) holding
near Kelso, Scottish
Borders and Gattonside
Mains with 180ha (455
acre) grass (LFA) plus 80ha
(198 acres) rented.
Stocking is 340 sucklers, a
40-cow pedigree Aberdeen-
Angus herd, 20-cow pedigree
Charolais herd, 60 pedigree
Suffolk and 960 commercial
The weather continues to be unseasonably mild and dry, with rainfall amounting to only 43mm (1.6in), and mid-November temperatures reaching 16C (62F), and dropping to only 7C (45F).
So far, animal health has not suffered too badly, with only one case of pneumonia which was treated with Duphacycline. However, the second dose should maybe have been administered a day quicker as the animal is not improving at the rate it was.
Difficulty with bulls seems to be the order of the day at Gattonside Mains, with our Shorthorn bull now being condemned to the scrap heap with a hip problem, two Angus bulls out of action having hurt themselves, and one Angus bull only settling one in three served. The result has been to synchronise almost 60 cows, and AI them – the majority- with a Limousin and the rest with a Shorthorn. This, hopefully, will close up our calving pattern. We have also purchased a Limousin bull to replace the Shorthorn and, hopefully, this will give us improved conformation on the heifer calves kept as herd replacements.
We have now decided that the entries for the Spring Bull Sales are going to be five Angus bulls only -the feeling being that the Charolais cattle, although quite good, are not going to be of a high enough quality to guarantee a sale in the present climate.
The lamb trade seems to struggle from week to week being held back by a strong £ or striking lorry drivers. However, we are still managing to maintain an average selling price of above £50. If no improvement is forthcoming, I wonder if any money will be made on our bought in lambs (purchased at £43), but somehow the whole year seems to have been a struggle to make money.
On a brighter note, we took two bullocks to the Scottish Winter Fair for the Scottish Premier Meat class – cattle shown live and then dead. We finished up second in the live section of the Angus class. We also entered the Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Societys Suckler Cow of the Year competition and came third. So although we are maybe not making much money, what we produce at least looks OK.n
Ewan Brewis is contented by show success with his Aberdeen Angus stock, otherwise the whole year has been a struggle to make money.