Saturday 24 February, 2024

In your field: Alan Carter - ''We have been using natural service for five years and it works well for us'

I would just like to start by thanking everyone who spoke to me about my last piece.

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clock • 2 min read
In your field: Alan Carter - ''We have been using natural service for five years and it works well for us'

It was lovely to hear from people that it had been well received, even though I found it very difficult to write.

The funeral of Sarah's dad, Brindley, was very well supported with nearly 600 people attending. It is still quite all consuming, but it has only been six weeks.

The cows have been in full-time since the start of November. The grass kept growing a lot later than previous years, but getting to the fields during October was the problem. It has felt like it has not stopped raining since it started five weeks ago.

Earlier

All the youngstock was also housed during the start of November. This is earlier than we have been some years, but the autumn weather this year has not been kind. However, we have been a lot more fortunate than many who have been affected by the bad weather.

November 20 is an important date every year for us as it is the day that we put the bulls in with the cows and heifers. We have been using natural service for five years and it works well for us.

The cows will be with our second-year bull, Colan, for eight weeks, then a Hereford for the rest of the breeding window. The heifers are with a new bull this year.

We bought him from the Goonhilly herd of James and Claire Tripconey. This is the third bull we have bought from them as Colan came from there last year, as well as the first British Friesian bull we used, Asher. Their bulls have done well here.

They have left nice calves, and it is good to be able to use a bull that you can see the cow, herd, and system that they come from.

The new bull, Devoran, will be with the bulling heifers.

This group has cubicles, and access to a field with round bale silage and kale.

James brought out two bulls to choose between, that were not closely related to Asher, and Dad and I both picked the same one, which saves any arguments.

At the end of November, we will be retesting around 40 animals for bTB with the gamma blood test. These are the ones that had samples that could not be tested.

These are spread through various groups, so even though the number to test is quite small, the time needed to sort them out will be quite high.

I am not sure what happens if any of these samples fail, because it seems there are many reasons why a sample cannot provide a result.

Do we just have to keep going and going until every sample is achieved? I hope not.

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