Spring is not the gentlest of seasons, and with all the storms we’ve had lately, it’s certainly brought us into 2024 with a bang. While we suffered no major damage, our shed took a bit of a battering, with some of our Yorkshire boarding broken, most of our windbreaker ripped from our dry shed and the door got pushed in and the bar bent with the force of the wind.

We’ve yet to visit all the land to check for fallen trees, but there are two which we know of, though both are in rather awkward areas to access for use as firewood.

I’d nearly go so far as to wish we had the snow and ice back again as at least one could get around without getting soaked a couple of times each day.

I’m fairly certain the cows also plan to calve on the worst nights of the year and our second calf was no different, arriving into the world on the coldest night of the year, where it got as low as -5°C here.

Dad was keeping a close eye on her and it’s lucky he was as she was delivered inside the veil. Thankfully, he was able to clear her head in short order and she was up and sucking within the hour. I believe that sometimes there is nothing a person can do except hope for the best, either that or just set up a camp bed and sleep inside the shed at calving time.

Our two weanling bulls were brought to the mart on the Saturday we had planned for and while trade was good, we only sold the pedigree Limousin. For a bucket-fed calf he did well enough, and as he was getting rather boisterous in the shed we let him go for €1,300 at 380kg. The second fella, we had higher hopes for and it was decided to bring him home unsold at €1,250 and 345kg.

Perhaps it’s madness but we have space for him so he can stay around a while longer and our opinion will be verified one way or the other by then.


The ICBF indices saga continues to rumble on in the background and I’m following it with interest. While surprised to see that the Irish Beef and Lamb Association (IBLA) have begun proceedings to go down the legal route, it’s heartening to know that they at least are on the beef farmers’ side. While the star system works well for the dairy farmer, it’s not always as easy to farm on paper with continental cattle and at the end of the day, it’s the price which the hammer falls at that matters most.

While I’d been suspicious of one first calver sucking her dam for some time, she was finally caught in the act one afternoon. A wily little thing, she seemed to learn that to get away with it, she had to choose the opportune time when none of us were in the shed to witness the deed. It’s not an immediate issue as the cow in question isn’t calving until June but it certainly makes for some spectacle seeing an animal bigger than the cow merrily drinking her fill without a care in the world.

We picked up a new suckling preventer and will get it on to her snout one of these days. So, for now, she can act like the big baby she is.