A Lot of Bull

03 June 2021

The start of June is when we set the stall out for next calving – spring 2022. Bulls are “checked over” by Ainslie from Eden vets to ensure that they are in tip-top form and will manage the summer season with their companions.

Two of our bulls have failed the test with poor sperm mobility and count – so although this is disappointing, it is better to know now, than find out in November when we would have discovered barren cows. Fortunately – we had a few spare, so lets hope they get past the small talk stage with the cows and get on well!

Early June also sees the sheep shearers starting – when the wool “rises in the combe” (or begins to separate from the body of the sheep) it is time for the crew to arrive early in the morning and shear the ewes and tups before the days heat gets too much for them both.

Whilst wool was once the bedrock of the economy in Britain, it is probably not surprising that it is less important now. The situation is exasperated by the lack of hotel re-fits, cruise liner refurbs and new houses/house moves requiring carpets. As primary producers, we are entirely dependent on all of the activities around us continuing – who would have thought cruises would influence wool price?? The reality is that a good fleece is going to be worth 30 pence. And to shear – it will cost £1.30…….

We are delighted to welcome Dean Powles as our new apprentice. Dean joins with no previous farming experience but has harboured a life-long ambition to get involved in the industry. We look forward to helping him gain experience in the sector and hope that Balcaskie will be a launchpad for his career.

Last month we were delayed in our plans to muck out sheds when the heavens opened and 4” of rain fell in a week. However, not to be deterred, we set about making a new mole plough with Angus Bowden-Smith which is capable of burying waterpipe at speed. Thanks to Angus, we are ready to install water just for fun, it’s so good!

Finally, whilst we remain under restrictions to some degree, we also were able to host the first Comielaw Cook Off for 18 months, at the end of May. These Cook Offs are a chance to demonstrate some really impressive cookery skills within the team and more importantly, the chance to have a beer and bite with each other. None of us underestimate the benefit of a great team and their partners in keeping a sense of reality and perspective after a long time without seeing each other in relaxed social settings. Cheers!

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