I seem to be getting a bit worse at sitting down and writing the diary these days. It’s becoming more of a quarterly review! Anyway I’ll give you a run down on all that’s been going on. I’ll start with the beef. The cows and calves are doing really well. I’m very happy with the Angus calves. The Irish weather conditions suit the breed very well compared to the continental breeds.
I suppose it makes sense as Scottish conditions are very similar to here.
I started killing last year’s calves a few weeks ago and I’m very happy with the meat quality and weights of the animals. They were just fed on grass and some of our own rolled barley. The dead weight (weight of animal carcass}was 330 kg at 19-20 months which was good as they were never over fed.
I picked out 8 of the Angus heifers for breeding and got them A. I. (Artificial Insemination) as they are related to the bull. That worked out well because I think 7 are in calf but I won’t know for sure until they are scanned.
The sheep are going well too. They were all sheared in June and for the first time in my farming career I got more for the wool than it cost to take off, so that was nice.
My father tells a story about his first tractor, a Ferguson 20, and plough he bought with the money from a year’s wool. How times have changed!
I have all the lambs weaned since last week. They got a mineral dose that day and were treated against blowfly (maggots). I have about 30 killed at this stage so supply is working well because I stagger the breeding season which is nearly upon us again!
I will pick out the first batch this week and get them ready for breeding on the 15th of August. I think I might increase numbers again this year.
The piggy’s have all had their piglets since I last wrote and it went great, bar the Old Spot sow who only had three which was disappointing as she had 13 last time. I might give her another chance because she was my best and nicest sow, probably shouldn’t though.
The boar is on holidays with the Friendly Farmers sows and getting on well with them I hear.
I fenced off 4 bits of boggy land side by side I have rented and they are great for the sows and the piglets. It was full of flaggers and rushes and was so rough you couldn’t drive on it. They have all the rushes eaten and have dug up all the roots so when I take them off I will give it a run with the power harrow and seed it with grass and then move on the fences until I have all 30 acres done. It will make a nice field out of it as it is very dry bog.
The tillage has done well also. The winter wheat has started to ripen and I’m happy with the crop, it should yield well. The spring barley is good too it’s starting to change colour. There is more disease about this year in the wet conditions but we should be ok. The oats look well and should yield well too. It’s still green so it will be the last to ripen. The fodder didn’t do as well as I would have liked. It takes a lot of nutrients to grow and I don’t think I put enough on the fields but it’s not bad and will do the pigs nicely in the winter months.
I got 40 acres of silage made in early June. We got 3 great days to do it and the silage has turned out to be a great buy as I can do the silage on the day I want and I have a better control on quality. That’s nearly it. I’m in the middle of doing up the shed for the arrival of the turkeys later this month. We are getting them off heat this year. It’s a little more expensive but suits us better as there is a lot going on here and it will be one less thing to worry about.
Until next time