As the calendar approaches St Patrick’s Day, thoughts turn towards stock turnout. I am aware of the irony of writing such words, while looking out the window and watching the weather forecasts, there doesn’t seem to be much prospect of that happening for a while yet you would think. But farmers, especially here in the west, are starting to come under pressure for fodder and housing.
So in this week’s edition of thatsfarming.com beef roundup, we will see what needs to be ready for stock turnout and see how if we can help any housing space problems.
Prior to any cattle heading out, pull on the wellies and, if you have a quad or can travel with the tractor, grab your fencing tools, few posts, some of your favourite wire and take a long drive or walk to check all the fences.
I would always start with the boundary fences, like the old saying goes “good fences make good neighbours” and see that they are all up, posts and wire is good and that no trees from the storms have fallen on them, now would be an ideal time to drive a post or two if needed, with ground being soft on a lot of farms at the moment. After that, the paddock fences should be looked after.
For those of us with the electric fencing, looking for where it’s earthing is a guessing game I’d rather not have to play.
At the very least, you should be walking the grazing paddocks once a week, this will give you a good idea of grass cover as well as ground conditions.
If you feel that grass covers are too low for whatever reason, consider spreading even just a bag of urea per acre, this could encourage the grass covers, provided you can travel with the spreader. You can also keep the expensive compound fertilisers for when growth does take off.
Take this time to also sort out any water troughs that were spilling out last year, one little trick I use is to get a wheelbarrow of sand, easy got, easy levelled, tip it out under where the trough is going and can bed the trough in very nicely.
For anyone under pressure to get stock out, if cow and calves must be turned, use the driest field with the best shelter and only put out the strongest healthiest cows and calves, if needs be put in a bale of silage in a round feeder. With this wet weather, any calved cows that are turned out, watch out for tetany, if needs be give a shot of magnesium to each cow to be on the safe side.
Otherwise try and push out a few light weanlings onto dry ground with some decent grass cover and go from there.
Growth is only going to improve from now on as temperatures start to rise
In general, mart trade is reported as brisk with good prices being reported for quality lots, with farmers reported to be very active for grass cattle for finishing off grass this year. Best trade is for forward stores and short keep cattle in general with some prices given over 1000e above the weight
Having carefully watched cattle prices, there is no desire to increase the base prices on any types of cattle, despite a reported dip in availability of factory fit cattle.
Young Bulls 360-390c/kg