As every animal I have is being finished at the moment, except for nine yearling heifers, it kind of feels like the time I’m saving by not calving cows is taken up by carrying meal!

A bulk bag used to last me a week; now it doesn’t last three days. It is nice, though, to see cattle performing and doing well and putting on flesh.

It’s just something different from what I’ve been used to over the years with suckling. I didn’t really finish a lot of my calves. I did finish bulls and cows occasionally, but mostly everything was sold as stores.

But as the saying goes, “a change is as good as a rest”, and I think that is definitely true for me this year, as I’m enjoying feeding these cattle.

Not really enjoying the buying and carrying of meal - but enjoying watching them gain condition.

Especially as I’ve bred nearly all them myself, even the cows - most of them out of AI sires. I’ve seen it before on many an occasion, but it always amazes me how cattle with good genetics can turn inside out when being fed to finish.


A lot of these cattle will finish early in the new year and I will then find myself in the unfamiliar position of having to think about what type of cattle I’m going to buy in to graze next year.

There are so many options and everyone I talk to has a different opinion.

Rearing calves mightn’t be a bad option - I have plenty of experience of it from managing dairy farms in the past, but it’s not simple. There’s plenty of work to do it right, and scour and pneumonia can always rear their heads.

Then, if they could be got, buying a similar type of calf - say, an Angus X Friesian - but buying it off the milk or even buying it as a yearling is another option. Less work, but obviously the animal will cost more.

Or else, do I try and buy the type of cattle I’m used to, the good old continental Charolais or Limousine? But at what stage do you buy them: weanlings or older? Bulls or heifers?

If you buy bulls, do you keep them as bulls or do you castrate? Bulls will obviously perform better, but are harder to graze.

The list of questions is endless, and as I’ve said, everyone seems to have a different opinion, so it looks like I’m going to have to figure it out on my own.

But hopefully the new challenge will be something I’m going to enjoy as well.