There have been suckler cows on this farm for as long as I can remember and if I’m honest I really enjoy keeping these animals.
Calving season started here for my spring-calving suckler cows in February. This is something that I look forward to every year.
It’s a new year and there is new life appearing on the farm. All of last year’s problems (around calving) are a fading memory and I start out hopeful that everything goes well.
I am also looking forward to seeing how my different bull selections (for the cows) has worked out.
Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but that’s all part of the excitement
I am always keen to have better calves than the previous year, by choosing better bulls. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but that’s all part of the excitement.
Given the work and commitment I and many others have made to the sector for most of our lives, it saddens me to see the way some of our politicians have been very keen to vote in bad climate change legislation that has the potential to wipe out suckler cows from NI. Many of these same politicians will be relying on farmers to get re-elected at the next election.
It’s a struggle to understand how farmers could vote for politicians who seem to have no problem putting them out of business.
A really good suckler cow will produce one calf every year (very occasionally twins) and she will have to be well managed to achieve that
What a lot of farmers don’t realise is that those with suckler cows are going to find it really difficult to achieve net-zero emissions on their farms. A really good suckler cow will produce one calf every year (very occasionally twins) and she will have to be well managed to achieve that.
That’s it. Her one calf has to carry all the greenhouse gases produced on your farm, whether from fertiliser, fuel, meal, slurry, and not to mention the poor cow belching. That one calf is going to have its work cut out for it.
My cows all have a calf every year (they are sold if they don’t) and I calve my heifers under 24 months. I use the best genetics I can get my hands on and I’m trying to be as efficient as I can. So, I’m probably in a better position than a lot of other suckler farmers, but if politicians continue to ignore the best scientific advice, I’m struggling to see a future in suckler cows.
Calving has started here at a brisk pace with calves coming thick and fast
I’m normally a very positive person but it is really disappointing to see the way that some of our politicians seem to have cast us aside like a piece of dirt on their shoe.
But back to the day job. Calving has started here at a brisk pace with calves coming thick and fast.
It has generally been fine with only a couple of issues, including two cows that calved early, and retained their afterbirth.
The main issue so far was a cow I had been watching on the camera for five or six hours. She was getting up and down and pressing but nothing was appearing. We then decided to have a look and discovered it was a twisted calf bed.
I have seen this on numerous occasions, and I still can’t work out what causes it. I was not able to untwist it, so I called the vet. She had it sorted in half an hour.