John Gordon: Wake up call for the industry

THE Highland Show was blessed with perfect weather and once again there was an excellent atmosphere with record numbers through the gates.

One of the show’s talking points was that sheep exhibitors received the Defra Animal Health warning of a ‘yellow card’ as a small percentage of breeders had sheep with ‘excessively short tails’, which could result in a follow up farm visit.

This is a wake-up call to the industry to comply with the rule book, or it could result in a penalty to SFP entitlements.

Since June 21 the weather has changed for the better. After weeks of cold and wet conditions, heat eventually came. We have shorn 400 ewes and 300 hoggs, leaving 350 ewes until after silage. Early in June all lambs were done with ‘click’ so hopefully blowfly strike should not be a problem.

Silage is going to be late, probably into July, making it a concern for quality and late summer grazing for weaned calves and lambs.

Mother Nature needs to come up with the goods to give us an extended grazing season into the autumn.

People are already speaking about stupid straw prices, forcing livestock farmers to look at alternatives ie, bedding cattle with peat, sand or sawdust. Even gold can be too dear and we need to find a straw price acceptable to both buyers and sellers.

Our crop of forage peas is very poor due to a lack of growth and turnips are also struggling. With finished lamb prices slipping too, everything seems a bit doom and gloom.

Maybe the sporting arena will provide us with some better news over the summer. Scotland’s rugby team did well in Argentina and although the football in South Africa has been disappointing we can only hope Andy Murray will give us something to cheer about (as I write, he is still in at Wimbledon).

I recently attended an NFU meeting on the eradication of BVD in cattle. I congratulate the NFU for taking the initiative and would like to see everyone screening weaned calves to find out if they have a PI.

If they have they should identify the animal and either have it culled or isolated straight away. If this was compulsory then we could eradicate BVD very quickly.

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