Life on the farm with Ben your tenant farmer

The new shed we finished in the autumn has proved useful over the winter for some extra shelter, especially during the snow for the younger cattle. The youngstock were able to shelter while feeding through the worst of the weather. But the Aberdeen Angus cattle and Longhorns showed their resilience staying out all winter. Their thick, long coats kept them warm and the hedges acted as perfect shelter from the wind.

All of the Longhorn heifers have now calved and you can identify their calves in the field as most of them have a mixture of the Angus black and the Longhorn speckles. The all-black calves are the pure Aberdeen Angus. The Longhorn calves are smaller than the Angus at present, but this will be partly due to the mothers all being heifers and not over fat. I’m sure they will soon catch up with their Angus siblings.

I visited Cheshire farmer Mark Cowap back in April to view his pedigree herd of Aberdeen Angus. I was really impressed with the temperament of the breeding herd and the size and conformation of the cattle. The breeding herd were all very nice to handle and made you feel at ease around them. We’ve since purchased 15 heifers to join our breeding herd on the farm. Most of the heifers are pedigree Aberdeen Angus and will be great to replace some of the older cattle in our herd.

This year’s spring lambs are thriving on the farm. The new rams’ lambs, which are the Suffolks with black faces, are doing particularly well out on the grass. The ram himself, which we purchased in the autumn, has carried his weight through the winter extremely well and is the strongest of the group at this point. It just shows that buying good grass-reared rams is the way forward.

Let’s hope this summer doesn’t end up in drought again like last year. We have completely depleted our forage stores so need a good grass growing year to rebuild some spare forage for bad winters. Another dry summer would be pretty tough on the farm this year so keep your fingers crossed for some good balanced weather patterns for us.

Right I’m out into the fields again – see you next time!

Ben Hollins, Tenant Farmer


This article was first featured in the Summer 2023 edition of the Grazer magazine. For more info and to subscribe, visit:

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