Shropshire Star

Shropshire Farming Talk: A character-building experience

After two heifers attempted qualifying for the Grand National by jumping out of their pens, we successfully cleared another TB test.

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Helen Cork

It means we can sell some Hereford bulls and a few store cattle that have been enjoying sweet hay, which even the ponies have been trying to get at!

Working cattle with family members is often a ‘character building’ experience and I feel fortunate to have been able to spend time with my dad doing this.

Over the years I’ve helped him place hundreds of little bale wads onto floors of freshly disinfected pens and pour fresh water into tens of buckets before and after school.

He also taught me to notice the various tricks of the calf rearing business, such as a tell-tale ear down at milk feeding time - and although I’m sure I got under his feet I’m so grateful for this practical education.

It’s a different childhood to many school friends, but the experiences and memories of a farming upbringing last a lifetime.

I recently heard from a family who started rearing calves through ABP’s integrated beef supply chain Gamechanger.

After rearing five batches of calves, it was so heartwarming to hear that they see a long-term future in the enterprise.

They are enjoying having good quality calves delivered to their farm and running a sustainable business; enabling them to better balance life outside of the farm, which is so often easier said than done.

I hope that the sun starts making a more regular appearance soon and works its magic drying the ground, growing the grass, and giving us all much-needed Vitamin D (maybe the human equivalent of sweet hay?)

Wishing all readers a Happy Easter and some quality family time.

Helen Cork, Shropshire farmer and writer

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