Chasing profits for summer grazers

Will there be much profit in it for the summer grazers, when these animals are sold in the autumn?

Having sold 13 stores in Carrick two Fridays ago I’ve been around a couple of sales rings since looking to see what replacements might be available.

Both Kilkenny on Thursday last and Carrick the following day were quite small, and the cattle, while of interest, moved up a little too quickly in the money to be truly tempting.

Although prices have eased somewhat in recent weeks, there is no doubt that the reality remains — if you do the mathematics it’s still very debatable as to whether or not there will be anything much in it for the summer grazers, come the autumn.

Returning to the question of where to draw the line on price when buying: the question has always been if you reach your limit when buying do you continue the chase, and maybe get animals at a dear price, or not get them, thus leaving them at maybe a dear price to someone else?

I suppose the reality is that, on a given day, many of us have felt the cheque book was strong, and like the little boy with his communion money, we spent until it was gone!

Although I did run up a couple of lots of Friesians and one lot of Angus in Kilkenny on Thursday, I wasn’t overly bothered to miss out on them, because somewhere in the back of my mind a little voice kept telling me, “Your day will come, and they’ll come right.”

However that day wasn’t to be last Friday.

I arrived in Carrick to discover a very small turnout, and nothing of any real interest. The only interesting thing that happened was that the man who bought my Friesians the previous Friday approached me and enquired if I had any more of the same quality. I said I had, but I wasn’t sure what I was doing with them yet.

As I write, I’m planning a return to the rings this week, in the hope that numbers, and hence, choice, will improve, following improvement in the weather.

nI’ve been walking my wheat and barley crops.

All are very well established, and both got a shot of fertiliser during dry weather over the last three weeks.

While many growers put in fertiliser with the seed, to give the young plants a head start, I did not.

Although it’s deemed good farming practice to do so, I was guided in my decision by a conversation I had last year with a contractor who grows a lot of corn, who suggested that letting the crop become established, and then making your decision on fertiliser was just as good a practice — depending on your soil fertility, and the type of soil.

Having averaged 3.3 tonnes of barley last year it seemed logical to follow that advice again this year.

While the cold weather has affected growth, it would appear also to have limited the establishment of the weed population, but that’s a situation that will require careful monitoring, with a return now to better temperatures.

* On the silage front, I have stopped a couple of extra paddocks, due to my reduced cattle numbers. I don’t have any need for the extra fodder, and I mentioned this to a neighbour who’s had to graze off his silage ground — and he expressed a serious interest.

He arrived a few days later and we walked two of the fields, and rapidly came to an agreement on price.

While it can be argued that grass silage is becoming expensive to grow and cut, the reality remains that in a tough cold winter the volume of feed required to fill an animal’s stomach makes silage still the more attractive option price-wise, compared to concentrates plus roughage, in my opinion.


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