John Geldard farms 175ha (430-acres) near Kendal on the southern edge of the Lake District. Stock
comprises 50 suckler cows, with progeny finished
alongside 300-400 bought-in stores, 1000 ewes plus 250 ewe lamb replacements, of which 160 are pedigree Charollais, and a 25,000
bird poultry enterprise.
WITH Westmorland County Show behind us, that marked the end of the show season for us this year. The weather was good and the stock entry excellent, with over 340 cattle, and 660 sheep entries staged on our new show site at Crooklands just off the M6.
We were exhibiting Llyens and Charollais sheep, but as I am involved with organising the show it was up to sons, Richard and Charles to show the sheep. Apart from a fair share of rosettes they took the championship with the Llyen and reserve championship with the Charollais.
The first two Llyen sales got off to a good start, with buyers from far and wide showing interest in the breed. We had no reason to complain, with 150 ewe lambs averaging £89.73 and eight yearling rams averaging £793.00 – let us hope the rest of the sales continue in the same spirit.
As for finished cattle, things are not quite so bright. Even though prices have improved slightly, it is from a very low base.
We have just filled one of our feed stores with grain beet and with brewers grains at £13.50/t, which will no doubt help, but nevertheless the price differential between stores and finished cattle bares no relation. However, we are in the process of increasing the suckler cows so one is not quite as dependent on bought in stores.
We have been reseeding grass in the last month, putting down long-term leys. We normally like seeding to be complete before the end of August, but this year it was Sept 8, but with the nice steady rain in the last week we hope they will get off to a good start.
We have also been spreading some fields with treated sewage sludge applied by North West Water, along with all the rough muck which came out of the buildings in the spring. Hopefully this will give us a good flush of grass for the sheep throughout autumn and into early winter. *
After a good trade for the Geldard familys Lleyns, prices are not so bright for finished cattle – and theres no relation between store and finished prices.