John Gordon: Not starting the harvest means desperation is beginning to set in

Desperation is setting in now in some parts of Scotland. Regular rain has held up the harvest and locally there is a lot of grain being harvested with a moisture content in the high 20’s and there’s plenty of straw still lying.

Having not even started our harvest yet we try to remain optimistic as a lot can be achieved in two or three fine days – if we get them!

The spring-born calves are thriving and are eating creep feed like it’s going out of fashion.

Fat cattle trade continues to be good. This helps the store cattle trade but harvest worries are biting

They have all had their first vaccination against respiratory disease and a pour-on wormer. We find this regime works well with no pneumonia over the last two years. Our autumn-born calves are also looking well and, as you read this, we will be selling 70 at Thainstone mart.

Fat cattle trade continues to be good. This helps the store cattle trade but harvest worries are biting and this is perhaps taking the edge off store prices.

We are in the middle of calving our back end calvers. Calves are big and we’re having to pull one in four.

We’ve also had a caesarean and one that should have been a caesarean – hindsight is a wonderful thing!

The ewes have all had their udders and teeth checked and Doug will shortly check their feet. We have bought 260 ewe lambs for tupping at an average of £125 and we will keep 50 Texel cross ewe lambs of our own. We also have 60 Texel cross gimmers to sell, which are surplus to our requirements.

Lamb prices have slipped recently and we’ve put 300 of the stronger lambs on a creep feeder to push them on. It’s easier and cheaper to finish them now at 44kg than in February at 54kg.

We are in the process of replacing all our individual slats with panel slats. It’s a slow job and having to retrieve the odd broken slat from the cellar is slowing us down. This is where our 16-year-old son Ewan comes into his own.

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