Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Making Life So Much Easier On Our Smallholding.

We  have been busy lately making the old cow shed into a new slatted house.  This means that no longer do we need to clean them out with the four prong pike and barrow every day.  The cattle are in now for the winter.  I can't believe how easy it is.  The tractor puts in the a bale and we spread it about with a pike.  They are eating barley silage and straw in the above photographs.  Yes I know the straw is piked much too close to the head feeder.  

Cattle are making savage money at the moment.  The only thing is the small cattle are also making big money.  So if you sell your cattle you can't really afford to buy any replacements.  How can can this be so?  Dear cattle in a recession.  Me not understand?

When we were making the new slatted shed.  I kept thinking me or my son would get hurt.  We didn't though.  Oh no!  We took down the scaffolding last week and guess who split his finger open with a scaffolding plank?  Yeah it was me!

Number one son made (cut and weld) the head feeders and gates.  Not bad for a 16 year old eh?  

10 comments:

  1. Looks like a really professional job on the head feeders, sure that boy's got real engineering talent.
    And a nice easy job of feeding.
    And no mucking out, just need a slurry pump and spreader tank now?
    What you going to do with all the spare time? Leading kale?

    No, there doesn't seem to be any sense or reason in the sale price of livestock, as you say, to sell dear means buying dear. Doesn't matter what you get through the auction, the price seems to stay high in the butchers. Sell the biggest two and feed the others? Then hope to buy some cheaper later in the winter? A crystal ball would be nice to have.

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  2. He's done a great job, Cumbrian. Just hope he doesn't emigrate with the other 300000 poor souls who have left Ireland in the last few years. My father went to England during the 'black fifties'.

    I still have plenty of farm work like weeding and spreading muck on the veg plot. I wouldn't like to live in the countryside without cattle. It can very boring at times. Especially with no public transport or a pub.

    I am told the livestock boats are running again. I don't agree with the live exporting of cattle. Especially places like Libya. They don't kill cattle humanely like they do in Britain and Ireland.

    Will probably try to buy some in January when farmers are hard up after Christmas. Thanks for the advice!

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  3. Didn't realise so many people want out of Ireland, understandable I suppose if there's nothing there for them, but sadly just accelerating the desolation of the rural areas and more derelict buildings.

    Sure you'll have plenty to keep busy with, how did the kale weeding go?

    No, I often wondered about the wisdom of exporting live animals for meat, seems such a waste of effort and cost, not to mention discomfort for the animals.
    A carcase would be so much lighter, easier and cheaper to transport, and far more humane than some of the ritualistic slaughter practices in some countries.
    Don't know where from or what breed, but there used to be a regular Irish cattle boat docked in Silloth, I think it's stopped now though.

    Good thinking, a lot of people could probably do with a lift after the Christmas and New Year celebrations and expenses, anybody with space and plenty fodder might be able to pick up a few bargains. Best of luck, looking forward to reading about the January auctions.

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  4. Yes Cumbrian, It does accelerate the desolation of rural areas. Governments seem to have a policy of only providing infrastructure in the towns and cities. A lot of the young people have gone to Australia and Canada. They are starting to only allow people under 45 with a recognized trade in their countries. I think we live in a post industrial society and there will never be manufacturing again. China seem to export everything to Europe.

    I got tired weeding the Kale. It's growing very well and the Red Shank seems too be dying off.

    The EEC actually subsidises the boats that take the live exports. I suppose the seas will get roughsoon and they will stop the boats until spring. Then the prices will probably drop and we will curse ourselves for not selling them. It's all swings and roundabouts on a farm.

    Thanks!

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  5. Yes, sad, we were once the world power-house of engineering and innovation, now it seems we're regressing into a third world country, living on past reputation. Agreed, I don't think we'll ever be a world leader again, anything we make seems to be owned by foreigners, and an awful lot of stuff comes from China.

    It's getting harder to emigrate as well, what were once our colonies are now dictating who can be allowed in. Australia for example used to require a criminal record to be sent there, now you'll not be admitted if you have one.
    Maybe a pity we in the UK don't have a similar immigration policy?

    Pleased to hear the kale's growing well, sure the cattle will enjoy it, you still going to try folding them over it?

    First time I knew the EEC subsidises the cattle boats, I still can't make sense of exporting live meat, it must cost a fortune compared to carcases. Or am I missing something?

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  6. I believe Brazil is a bigger economy than the UK. China is supposed to be starting making cheap small cars. No doubt with recycled metal? I have bought lots of cheap and nasty tools made in China. You can't make something good, cheap!

    I will try to fold the Kale with the battery electric fencer strip grazing the field. If the weather gets really bad. I will just harvest it a fertilizer bag full at at a time.

    Just been reading: Compassion In World Farming website. I have signed up for their email newsletter. Apparently it takes 9 days to transport live cattle to Libya.

    Reading a letter in a farming newspaper today. Calves were being sold at an Irish mart for 813 Euros. The writer asks how can the buyer make any money when they have dosed and fed it. Unbelievable.

    Thanks for your comment!

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  7. Yes, "Made in China" used to bring to mind cheap, nasty, not really up to the job, etc. But I think in more recent years their economy has really started to take off, and lots of branded goods are made / assembled in China. For example, Mrs likes to do cross-stitching as a hobby, and needs a bit of concentrated light / magnification on some of the more delicate work; I buy head strap things, complete with 4 lenses, bright little light including batteries, a useful piece of kit, cost £9, delivered, from China. I even gave my computer whizz-kid one, he was impressed and uses it for the intricate jobs repairing computers ( a hobby of his).
    China seems to be buying up an awful lot of things globally as well, not bad for a third world country whose economy was based on cheapo stuff and take-away curries.
    Perhaps we ought to go to China and open English take-aways?

    9 days in the hold of a ship, must be Hell on earth, I've never seen a cattle boat inside, but they can't be very pleasant. I'm sure there must be a reason for it, but it still escapes me.

    813 Euros for a calf? Maybe time to send a couple of your big stirks to market?

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  8. China does make some good branded items. So does India. Western Europe seems to be a consumer based rather than manufacturing.

    I have always believed in Keynesian economics. Rather like the 1945 Labour gov't that rebuilt Britain. When you build houses you create a demand for manufacturing. Even the lady selling the bacon butties to the builders is making some money. People buy new houses(or social housing) and they want to decorate and furnish them accordingly. Keynesian economics says that if you don't have a demand you get recession. It's all bubble and burst. I suppose it's like Newton's law of Physics:

    "What goes up. Must come down. "

    English take aways in China. That is a good idea. We could do with some English pubs in Ireland. Serving real ale and traditional regional pub food.

    I see the EEC signed up a trade agreement with Canada yesterday. Canada and the EEC can sell and export milk products and meat to each other. Hope it's not live exports.

    I have read that they live export because we have the grass and they have the cheap grain to finish them.

    It was 813 Pounds for a calf at Ballymena market.

    Butcher came and looked at cattle last night. We have only got one ready. They pay dead weight only. Says we should feed them nuts until January. Number one son's heifer is the one that's ready. They say the day you buy. Is the day you sell. Meaning a cheap animal only makes a cheap price at market. My Friesian cross bullocks are only worth 1.50 a kg. They are charging 11 Euros for stewing beef in the supermarket.

    Thanks!


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  9. Yes, the construction industry / housing market is a pretty good barometer of the economy, sadly it went too far and too fast, resulting on the big bust and stagnant market we now have.

    1.50 per kg, and the cheapest cut 11 in the supermarket, who's making the big bucks? And it's not all stewing beef, I've seen prime cuts at £24 per kg.

    French prices cheapest cut is ribs, a cut we don't see in UK, at least I haven't, a short length of rib with a couple of inches of meat attached, excellent for long slow cooking and very tasty, 3.99 Euros per kg. Best cuts I noticed up to 18 per kg, not 100% sure which part of the beast, the French butchery is based on the muscle structure of the animal, not the bone structure, so some cuts are not so easily identifiable.

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  10. There building boom was the same in Ireland. Banks lent money for mortgages of 3 and 400000 Euro. the banks when bust and property prices have dropped dramatically. Yet the banks won't loan people money any more. Britain and Ireland have followed Japan into negative equity.

    It makes sense to buy a full or half heifer from a butcher or farmer. I will save far more money eating one of my own cattle.

    Didn't know the French base the muscle structure instead of bone structure. I know they prefer the lean continental meat with very little fat. They also kill animals who are 7 years old. They like their meat mature. The sound like they know their food and wine.

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