It has been quite a busy last six weeks on the farm’s livestock enterprise. All the fattening cattle brought in from summer grazing in the fields has to be housed at Lochty. Calves weaned from their mothers are transported to Lochty from North Baldutho in our own livestock trailer and housed. Cows are all housed at North Baldutho.
Once inside at Lochty all the fat cattle and calves have their backs clipped to prevent sweating, and ear tags checked, we also take samples to check for any evidence of worms or fluke. Then they are put into pens in their shed according to sex and size, this prevents the smaller ones from getting bullied, and so they are more content.
The cows at North Baldutho are treated in the same way, but we don’t clip their backs as the shed is quite open, and it’s always windy up there! The cows that were with the bulls over the summer all get PD (pregnancy diagnosis) – carried out with an ultrasound scanner. They also get blood samples taken to check for Johnes, which are sent away to the Premium Cattle Health Scheme of which Balcaskie is a member.
As with all livestock tasks it takes a lot longer than you planned for, as you can only work at the pace the cattle are comfortable with. And as always there are one or two that like to be difficult and slow up the process!!
The ewes have all been mated with the rams, and we will know within the next few week, after PD, how the rams have performed – hopefully well!!
We have started to sell a few fat lambs and cattle to our local butcher. It seems to working out quite well for both of us, and we are hoping to do more of this in the future.
On the arable enterprise Robert has been busy winter ploughing, but still has a bit to do. We try and get the ground ploughed early to create a frost mould ready for spring sowing next year. This is the only major task at this time of year on the arable enterprise, but Andy has been helping with the livestock, mending drains and maintenance jobs in the farm workshop.
As always it’s been an interesting and challenging year, but in farming next year will be interesting and challenging for totally different reasons. That’s what keeps it interesting.