Friday 4 April 2014

Our Smallholding Cattle Eating Kale.

 Six of the big cattle pictured eating the Kale we sowed last summer.  There's an electric fence in front of the cattle to stop them eating too much in one go.
When they have ate it down and churned up the soil.  I will let it dry out and get it rotovated and put it down to grass again.  It's good to give the cattle a varied diet and the field a break from grass.  I'm hoping cattle prices pick up and we can sell them.  The other smaller cattle are still inside the slatted house eating the round silage bales.

Two of the bigger heifers are fit to sell to the butcher or send them to mart.  I never bother calving them.  We could kill one ourselves but we still have half a freezer full.  So we will slaughter one of the smaller one's when they are big enough.  I always say you should keep the best for your self.  Why wouldn't you eat your own when you know what drugs and food it's had?  I often talk to farmers who buy milk, vegetables and meat from the supermarket.  We will never be self sufficient but we always have a small amount of meat and vegetables from our smallholding for ourselves.  Do you?


  1. Good to see them outside, even if the weather doesn't look as good as it might.

    Doesn't matter so much now they're on grass. keep awhile and wait for an up-turn in beef prices, it's got to come. Get a bigger freezer, there's nothing like the satisfaction you get from feeding yourself with your own home produced meat, and the low prices at auction don't seem to be reflected in the supermarkets.
    I can't understand either, selling at auction prices and buying it back at supermarket prices with everybodys percentage and transport added on.
    And as you say, God only knows what they're fed on and injected with.

    Don't think anybody can be totally self-sufficient, at least not as long as we depend on oil and electric, but nice to go some way towards it with home produced food, and meat is the expensive one.

    Weather a bit dull here, sun's gone away, your mizzle this morning, dull and cool this afternoon, more rain forecast for the rest of the week.

    Raggy cat in early this morning, a fireside day today.

  2. Hi Cumbrian. The beef trade seems very depressed at the moment. All the worry of Russia invading the Ukraine doesn't help. It's a global food market and all countries need food with the growing world population. I should have sold them before Christmas but I thought I would over winter them and they would be worth more. The last cattle I bought are worth fifty Euros less than when I bought them. That's after paying for beef nuts and giving them silage for the winter. Don't think any smallholder makes any money. You have got to be a dairy farmer with at least sixty cows. It depresses me at times but they will only get bigger and weigh more. I suppose it's how much people need the money that determines the cheap cattle prices?

    Yes we are all dependent on oil and electric. You can't beat growing your own vegetables and eating your very own meat produced on the farm. Meat that's been killed by a local butcher and hasn't travelled hundreds of miles in a lorry or exported across world still alive.

    Wet again today. Grass seed starting to show on new lawn.

    Terrier and cat a sleep in kitchen near range.


  3. We have two Jersey cows and one of them is due to calf in July. This is her second calf, the first one being a heifer, who we have kept and will put to calf later on this year. So far we have not had to deal with what to do with calves once they are born, but we will have to because we are too small a farm to keep more that two cows. So, if a heifer is born, they she will have to be sold on, but if it is a male then we shall slaughter him ourselves, and that is going to be tough to deal with!

    We are self sufficient with meat, milk, and eggs, but we are nowhere near being self sufficient in vegetables, and this we hope to remedy in the next year or so. Of course there will always be some supermarket shopping to be done, but our food bill has become drastically reduced, although the feed bill for the animals has increased. But at least we can say we eat our own food, and that is worth all the hard work. We also slaughter and butcher our own animals, but we have yet to do something as big as a calf..........

  4. Thanks Vera. It must be a difficult decision what to do with a Jersey bull calf. I hope it's an heifer and you won't have to make the decision of slaughtering the bull calf. Perhaps you could sell it or swap it for another calf?

    We aren't allowed to kill our own on the farm in Ireland. So we take it to a local butcher and they charge about 230 Euro to kill, hang and chop up and pack the meat. Then we collect it about a fortnight later. Pigs and sheep cost less. Especially if you only have pork. Years ago a licenced slaughter man would come to the farm and shoot them whilst they were eating their cereal. They would know nothing about it.

    I look forward to reading about your Snippets from Labartere - Thanks!


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