This year has probably been one of the most challenging we’ve had in recent times when it came to selling our weanlings. On both days we took stock out to sell at the mart, technical issues caused delays.

Call it coincidence or bad luck, it certainly put us off online selling for the moment at least. While it’s certainly enjoyable to watch marts in the evening without having to resemble the Michelin man with 40 coats on to try and keep warm, we decided to sell the last few from home.

Some potential buyers who rang up about our calves seemed to think I was merely the person answering the phone for the actual ‘farmer’

Of course, nothing is ever as simple as that, and this brought about a whole new array of issues! For those who know me, I’m no stranger around marts and selling cattle in them, but some potential buyers who rang up about our calves seemed to think I was merely the person answering the phone for the actual ‘farmer”. Thankfully it only took a day of answering calls, and listening to some questionable jokes before we had an interested party. Upon viewing them in the shed, he decided to take all the bulls we had available, and would have taken more off our hands if they were for sale.

While we had four pedigree Limousin bulls this year, three were sold off at commercial value as I didn’t feel they were good enough in both style and temperament to keep on for breeding stock.

I’m currently starting to halter train the bull which we kept back, and he has to be one of the most even tempered bulls I’ve ever worked with. My father usually leaves the halter training of bulls to me, and while I’d like to say it’s because I’m patient, Dad’s opinion of it leans more towards how stubborn I am when offered a challenge.

“If you had bigger ears you’d be as good as a donkey,” was his take on it one day when he was watching me playing tug-of-war with a bull in the field. Thankfully I don’t believe this bull will be difficult to train, as the first time I put a halter on him, he stood placidly in the pen while I adjusted the rope to fit his head.

In the last couple of years, we trialled using a Salers bull on heifers and just as planned, the progeny arrived small and healthy with no help needed. However, we seem to have bad luck with the breed as although we kept on two for replacement cows, one is already sold and the second is walking on very thin ice due to her flighty nature.

I certainly hope I don’t regret keeping one

Funnily enough, the couple of replacements we plan on keeping this year were bred by the two cows in question, so perhaps a quarter of Salers breeding in an animal is our limit. I certainly hope I don’t regret keeping one, which has the trendy roan colouring. She could have been sold a few times over as she seemed to catch everyone’s eye both out in the field and in the shed. Hopefully the trend for these coloured cattle will continue for another while, or at least until I see if she carries the gene through to her own calves.

All that’s left to say for now is to wish an enjoyable Christmas to everyone from the McCabes!