I am not quite sure why the beef price is weakening just as our export markets seem buoyant, but the end of our shed cattle, despite bearing the highest costs, are also going to suffer the drop in price.

However, we are coming near the end of them and we have brought in some of their later born colleagues to be finished off inside.

We are aiming for a carcase weight of around 320kgs from these Angus Friesian crosses with a remarkably consistent kill out of 51.5%.

Looking at the grass that we hope to ensile as our second-cut silage, I am disappointed at how there are a lot of young docks growing in the sward, despite having used an expensive control in the spring once conditions had warmed up.


On the crop side, my worst fears for the Clearfield oilseed rape have been realised. We will use Roundup as soon as possible to clean up the weeds and leave it until we get it fit to harvest, which I reckon will take about three weeks.

The regular hybrid oilseed rape is much better, and it’s clear that the pre-emerge herbicide we applied way back last September has been effective in controlling not only the standard weeds but also in preventing the dreaded charlock becoming established.

It’s been a useful experiment sowing the two different types and for this coming season, we will use one of the newer hybrids but aim to get in early after the winter barley.

One of the winter barleys has an unusual population of poppys. While they may look attractive, they are concentrated in areas where the crop is poor, and I have been advised to pre-treat the crop with glyphosate to prevent them causing a real problem next year.

This strategy has costs, as my contract for the winter barley forbids the use of pre-harvest glyphosate. All going well, I will use that particular crop as concentrate for the cattle.

Hopefully the bulk of the winter barley will meet the specifications without any pre-harvest treatment.

At this stage, I reckon it’s about a fortnight off harvest. With the deadline for changes to the BISS application passed, we have left the original application stand. Even with the forecast shortage of straw, I still intend to chop the oaten and oilseed rape material.

Despite the feeding value of the oaten straw I find it almost impossible to get it dry enough to save unless the weather is unusually good.

The only administrative detail left is to get the labels for the seed wheat to the Department of Agriculture cereal section so that they can complete their certification report for the crop.