John Davies: Dwindling feed stocks means the calves had to be weaned

THE snow thawed and it finally warmed up. It has been cold in Merthyr Cynog. One friend had his engine seize while straw chopping.

When he approached the insurance company, its rep said his research was it needed to be -50degC before oil froze. Said friend enquired whether he’d ever been to Merthyr Cynog!

Early January, after assessing our feed stocks and looking at the cost of feed, it was time to wean some calves.

The cows and calves up Pentwyn were brought down, with an awful lot of lowing but now they’ve all settled down. They’re the best Charolais calves at weaning we’ve had for a few years.

Worse luck, the Bailea bull, which sired most of them, has had a problem in the downstairs department, which resembled a corkscrew. Very frustrating for me and him! He’s no longer with us and there will be haggling over his replacement.

At the moment, I’ve hired a Welsh Black bull from a friend. He’s having his way with quite a few of our Limousin x Belgian cows. It’ll be quite interesting to see how it turns out.

It’s a balancing act utilising the MoD range as much as possible and having a higher percentage

We scanned the ewes and the younger speckles, which will breed our replacements, averaged 125 per cent and the Mules averaged 182 per cent. A few too many dry ones.

We sold 30 in Builth, with the best making £60. It’s a balancing act utilising the MoD range as much as possible and having a higher percentage. If lamb prices keep strong, we may have to change this.

For now, the Beulah ewes carrying singles have been returned to the MoD range where they are fed beet nuts. We normally house the twins and mule ewes straight after scanning. This time we are running them outside a bit longer to try to save silage and straw.

They’re in good condition at the moment, but we’ll have to use a bit more fertiliser in the spring I guess.

Our local YFC has started drama practice which I’m helping with. With two weeks to go, we’re certainly not going to be over rehearsed, but they’re having a lot of fun at practices.

I’m also a member of the local parish council and our last meeting was dominated by complaints on road conditions. Cutbacks mean gritting and snow ploughing is very limited outside the towns. If this is going to be policy, some system of employing local farmers when it’s really bad needs to be considered.

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