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G.M.Hunter Ltd.

Tilbrook Grange

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Winner Best local product


Winner of

Devon Cattle Breeders Herd Competition 2016


January 2017

By jameshunter1, Mar 12 2017 04:46PM

January has been like most winter months. Not much work can be done in the fields, so after feeding the cattle it is odd jobs around the farm. Those that walk further than the concrete path may have spotted that we have been doing some woodland management in Jaunties Spinney. Little had been done in the spinney since it was planted about 50 years ago. All the Oak trees have been left to grow bigger but the Firs & Larch which were planted to lead the Oaks up have been reduced. Many had matured and were falling over. (Pictured) The rotten wood was tidied up & burnt on site and the better wood was cut to be used as fire wood next winter. There was nothing good enough to be used as fencing posts. I remember the derelict house which was took down for it’s bricks to build our garages in the 60’s. The last person to live there was Edna Darlow. After Jaunties she moved to Church Lane and was the bar assistant in the White Horse for Roger & Eileen Dunkley who kept the pub for 25 years.

Since the cattle open day following our success last autumn the sales have picked up for breeding stock & semen. The biggest deal was for 19 heifers (aged 16 months) that left the farm last week to go to a farm at Corfe Castle.

They are joining a herd of existing Devons, but the breeder wanted to expand his herd faster than he could achieve with his own breeding, so he came to Tilbrook. They are settling in now, and will run with his bull after they are turned out to grass in the spring. Hopefully they will all have a calf in spring 2018. The calves will then grow into animals for beef. They will be mature for slaughtering around December 19 or January 2020. He will have to feed & look after the cows & calves for 1000 days, house them for 3 winters, pay all bills before he will get any income. I am confident the Dorset farmer has done his sums. We wish him well. At least he came to the voted best herd of Devons in the country to get his breeding stock.

You may recall in my Spring 15 report that we had Semen collected from Tilbrook Prince. We have this last month got the got the license to export the semen into the USA. The visitors from the States liked what they saw at the World Convention here last June. Hopefully we shall soon get some orders to go across the Atlantic. Tilbrook Prince(pictured) has already got calves across the UK & Australia. We are now appreciating the gamble that started in the summer of 2014! All the free lunches are getting paid for!

The large straw stack in the old bomb sidings has now all gone. It went different ways. The best bales went to Holland and Shropshire for livestock. The less good bales went to the power station at Ely and just a few loads went across the road to the straw plant. The whole job, baling stacking & loading away went well. There was just one slight glitch. The gateway was not quite wide enough when dark, hence the new gatepost. The stack was 36ft high and only 2 bales were lost as not good enough.

Hopefully the day time temperatures will soon pick up & the crops will start to grow. We shall then put on fertiliser to encourage rapid growth as they are at the moment a little backward.

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