With baling finished and everything stacked away in preparation for winter, we could finally get on to the usual tasks that eluded us while we were busy elsewhere.
This means topping, and lots of it, as we have about half of our pasture in low-input permanent pasture (LIPP) and thus can't top until the start of July, which is usually when we’re tied up with meadows.
With the fields also taking time to dry out after June, we weren’t too bothered about messy looking fields for a short time.
Not everything has to look like it’s on the front of a brochure and I’m sure our wildlife would agree.
Beware of hidden stones and cows that won't move out of the way of the tractor ??— Karen McCabe (@LadyHaywire) July 21, 2022
It's the obstacle course of topping.
And three cheers for Daddy McCabe! pic.twitter.com/YuBmNzF8K5
While breeding for next year has pretty much finished, with nearly all cows calving in March and April, the only two which haven’t gone in-calf so far are two pedigree Limousin heifers.
These will be allowed to slip into calving next autumn instead of the awkward time of midsummer, where it’s difficult to keep them in a proper body score condition.
I’ve mostly used Belgian Blue and Charolais on the cows, with a couple of Limousin on the purebreds and to my father’s horror when I informed him, a Salers on his Blue heifer.
Our aim is to try to breed more muscle into the calves instead of relying on feed to put weight on them for sale. This year, I was quite impressed with BB4438, so he’s gone on to a few cows.
Such grace and dignity as Bel sleeps ??— Karen McCabe (@LadyHaywire) July 20, 2022
Tongue out, legs akimbo, why not! pic.twitter.com/KgVo26tNNR
However, the trade-off in breeding these types of calves is more difficult calving, so, yet again, I’ll have to dig out the alarm clock or invest in a new camera system.
We had a calving camera up until a few years ago when we moved house and never got it to work correctly in the new cottage.
They are certainly an invaluable piece of kit if you live a distance from the shed and I even recall one night in a pub, a young chap trying to woo a girl by showing her the cows on his phone.
Our creep feeder has also gone out into the fields, with our usual 17% calf nut from Paul and Vincent.
The price has skyrocketed to €800 for a pallet this year, though they aren’t shy from giving discounts to repeat customers, which is why we stay loyal to them.
It also helps that they deliver straight to the yard, as I much prefer looking at bags of feed instead of looking for them.
While some would say this is early to start creep feeding, it’s our usual time as we prefer to give a small amount over a longer period of time, instead of pushing them on for a month before sale.
With most of our calves being bulls this year, we hope to get a few of the late-March/April calves away in October and the feed will certainly help them along.
Creep feeder going out for the first time this year. Hoping that our breeding for muscle will mean we need less feed with the price of it ?? pic.twitter.com/nrIsZ6IeQC— Karen McCabe (@LadyHaywire) July 28, 2022
The recent emissions debate and the outcome from it (or should I say fallout) has certainly generated some interesting conversations and debates on social media.
I still have no idea what it will mean for our small herd in years to come, but the suggestion that instead of crediting the farmers for offsetting emissions by installing solar panels or investment in anaerobic digestion and instead crediting the energy sector is surely ludicrous.
If they want farmers to actively invest in renewable energy, this is not the way to encourage us. Perhaps it’s time to change the meaning of the old saying to ‘go Dutch’.