Happy New Year to all our lovely customers!
Our delicious Ruby Red Devon Beef is once again available week commencing 14th January with deliveries being made on Thursday 17th. We have a great range of cuts available including Steaks,Joints, stewing beef and mince. Visit our online shop here to place your order.
The battle against TB
With 2018 now done our attention turns to 2019. I've mentioned previously that we have been experiencing a few issues with Bovine TB and this continues to be the case. Following the isolated result last summer where one of our cows recorded an inconclusive result (neither pass or fail) on two occasions, resulting in it being classed as an overall fail we had to have it culled. This meant that we were required to undertake a whole herd test in October to see if there were any other cases present. Unfortunately another of our cows failed the test and again had to be culled from the herd. Luckily on both occasions the calves of these cows were older enough to be weaned so didn't require bottle feeding. Having received the abattoir reports from these two animals it was reassuring to learn that none had shown any signs of having TB legions so there is a chance that both may not have had TB at all (the TB test is unfortunately not 100% accurate). As a result of these failed tests we are now in the cycle of having to test every animal on the farm every 60 days until we have two tests where all the animals pass. Our next test is next week so we're keeping everything crossed for a clean bill of health!
It is important to note that despite the issues we are experiencing with TB it has no impact whatsoever on the beef we are selling and carries zero risk to the consumer. Therefore, you'll be pleased to know, that we can continue to supply you with our delicious, grass fed beef! However where it does impact us, is on our ability to sell breeding stock to other farms. Because our cattle are all Pedigree, we sell both breeding heifers an bulls to other farms with pedigree Devon herds. To prevent the spread of TB from farm to farm we are forbidden from doing this until our herd has had two clear tests. The Spring is our main time for selling breeding stock, which is another reason we are so hoping that we pass our test next week, and the following one in March, so we can have the restrictions on selling breeding stock lifted.
In more positive news, our Autumn calving cows have finished calving and the young ones are now skipping happily around the shed. We have weaned all of the calves born in the Spring, and those cows are now having a break before getting ready for calving again in March / April. This time of year involves quite a bit of time mucking out the sheds - a smelly but necessary job! The muck is taking away, and stored in a big heap in one of our fields where it is left to rot down before we use spread it across some of our arable land next Autumn to add extra nutrients and organic matter to the soil.
Whilst in the sheds the cattle are fed on grass silage and lie on beds of straw, all of which we produce ourselves here on the farm, making our farming system very self sufficient. We have plenty of straw to keep us going through the winter and we should have just enough silage as well. However we usually have a bit of silage left over for the following year but due to the very dry summer we've just had and lack of grass growth we won't have that luxury this time round. We are therefore going to be in need of a more normal summer (whatever that is!) next year where we can hopefully produce a bumper crop of silage for the following winter.
This month will see us undertaking cattle vaccinations, finalising our Spring cropping plans as well as carrying our various general maintenance tasks around the farm (clearing fallen trees, servicing machinery, etc). We'll update you with more on what we've been up to next month.