Bull fertility tops agenda at Borders Monitor Farm meeting

Bull fertility will be among the key topics discussed at the upcoming meeting of the Borders Monitor Farm on Wednesday, August 22.

Whitriggs, a 480ha farm near Denholm, is run by Robert and Lesley Mitchell, along with their son Stuart. The farm runs a suckler herd of 140 Beef Shorthorn and Aberdeen Angus cross cows, and a flock of 1,000 Lleyn ewes across two units.

The farm’s current bull team consists of Angus, Simmental and Shorthorn bulls.

With an eye on continuous improvement, the Mitchells are keen to shorten their calving period and make sure that their bulls are working to their full potential.

At the meeting, Colin Penny from Zoetis will discuss what checks to make on bulls, including a semen test, and what to look out for while the bulls are working.

“At Whitriggs, we are always evaluating our business and the way we do things,” said Robert Mitchell.

“Making our cattle more efficient and reviewing when we sell calves is a priority for us, so I’m looking forward to hearing from Colin Penny who will no doubt give us a greater insight into managing our bulls more efficiently.”

Fodder and feed budgets

The meeting, which is free and open to all farmers, will also look at fodder and bedding options to address the challenges posed by the dry summer.

The facilitators will lead the group in creating feed budgets as well as looking at alternative feed and bedding materials.

As a mixed farm, the importance and economics of growing crops will also be scrutinised at the meeting.

Given the addition of a new deer operation, the group will also review the other farm enterprises to ensure they are operating efficiently and complement each other.

Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) director of economics services Stuart Ashworth will also attend the meeting to update the group on market prices and trends.

Monitor farms

Whitriggs Farm is one of nine monitor farms established across Scotland.

The programme aims to help improve the productivity, profitability and sustainability of Scottish farm businesses.

The meeting at Whitriggs farm will begin at 6:00pm and finish at 9:00pm. There will be a barbecue during the meeting.