Farmer Focus Livestock:Alistair Mackintosh

Q At the time of writing, we have enjoyed our first few dry days in more than a month. However, we are still unable to travel with machinery, to either attempt harvest or cut a few fields of silage. The barley yield will be poor, as many heads have broken off and we have a flock of geese feasting on a 20-acre field.

We’ve had to temporarily put cows and calves inside to prevent damaging the land further, allowing us to put them back out soon if the land dries out

Ewes have been dipped and dosed for tupping. Replacement shearlings have been bought, averaging in the mid-£90s.

Although breeding ewe prices are up, with lamb and cull ewe prices where they are, breeding replacements are good value and we have bought more than usual.

Scotland gaining TB-free status and the potential impact on store cattle prices for next year is the subject of much conversation. In the past we have seen many of our store cattle go north. However, more and more have gone east and for better prices. We didn’t see a collapse in prices when the bluetongue zone was rolled out and we were unable to trade with Scotland then, so I’m optimistic the TB-free status will have minimum impact on our cattle prices. Surely Scotland’s decision is a sad indictment on DEFRA’s lack of progress on the control of this insidious disease.

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