FARMING MATTERS: Feeding takes up the whole day

FARMING MATTERS: Feeding on a winter day.  Picture copyright Heather Jan Brunt
FARMING MATTERS: Feeding on a winter day. Picture copyright Heather Jan Brunt
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Winter days on the farm can more or less be summed up in one word - feeding. I wrote last week about how the herd has now come indoors.

That means that most of the day is now taken up milling and bagging up our home grown barley to fill the hoppers for the fattening bulls, and moving the big bale hay and silage to the suckler cow yards.

In addition manure has to be moved out and clean straw put down for bedding. The cattle are always happy to be indoors during the coldest months of the year, when they have easy access to food which is on permanent offer.

And it is also an opportunity for our stock bulls to build themselves up ready for the job of serving the herd again in the spring. Our primary stock bull is a Charolais, he serves the mature cows. We also have a smaller Hereford bull to serve the young heifers for their first calving.

Both these bulls are kept in bull pens on their own,and they enjoy the peace and quiet away from all their cows and growing calves! They are given extra feed, and handled as much as possible to ensure they remain friendly - an essential trait for such huge and powerful animals.

This is my final column of the year, so may I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I will be back on Saturday January 7th.