According to the plate meter, I grew 46kg of grass dry matter per hectare over the past two weeks.

I’m not sure my eyes tell me the same, but we’ll hope the plate meter know more than me.

All of the cattle that are going to grass are now out, except for eight yearling bullocks - they too should be out, but I somehow haven’t managed to get around to it.

I was all geared up to open the gates this morning, but I awoke to 4C temperatures and torrential rain, so I decided it probably wasn’t that great of an idea, so another bale needed to go in.


There is another batch of bulls in the shed being finished, but they won’t see out and will probably be there for another month or more.

All lambs are now away - the last 24 went through the mart as opposed to the factory like normal, simply because the price in the mart was better.

I split them into three batches based completely on weight and I was delighted with the price.

The heaviest batch weighed 51.5kg and made approximately €26/head more that the top price achievable in the factory that week.

But, of course, the reverse is often true as well - factory prices can often be higher than what’s achieved in the mart, especially for well-fed stock.

It really proves the point of how important it is to stay in touch with factory agents and mart managers and people who know what’s going on. Things can change quickly in livestock markets and just by doing what you always have done, you could be costing yourself money.

The lightest batch were four lambs at 44.5kg. Normally I don’t sell anything until they are close to killing out at top weight in the factory, which at the minute is 23.5kg and for my mainly grass-fed lambs to reach that, they really need to be 50kg live when weighed with a full belly out of the field.

However, seeing as the price is way above what any of us could have foreseen last September and October, when these lambs were bought, I decided not to be greedy and let them go.

Contract rearing

I also wanted to be in a position to start building a bit of grass covers for my next enterprise, which is contract grazing some replacement heifers for a local dairy farmer.

I know many farmers who have got out of suckling cows and into contract rearing and are very happy with it, but the fact that you don’t really own your own cattle doesn’t sit that well with me at the minute.

So, this is kind of a half-way house - I’ll graze these cattle for the summer and they will then go back to their own farm at the end of the grazing season.

I still have some of my own cattle to graze as well and will be able to buy more to feed through the winter if I wish. A foot in each camp, so to speak.

Whether I’m wise or not remains to be seen, but new challenges definitely keep things fresh.