It’s a long time since we had a TB reactor in our annual herd test, but last week we broke our clear run.

We have had lesions in slaughtered cattle occasionally but on laboratory examination they all proved negative.

This time, there was no room for doubt as we read the test results last Thursday.

We are now waiting to be told what factory in the area takes reactors, how much we will get paid and what transport we can use.

At this stage, we want to ensure there is no contact to allow cross contamination with the rest of the herd.

We will of course be barred from selling cattle to anywhere except a meat factory.

That will not be a significant change for us as the system has developed where all cattle are finished but it removes the flexibility of selling for the live trade if the opportunity arose.

For the rest of the cattle, grass growth is as good as I have ever seen it.

While we have the yard cleared for silage, we are not ready to cut yet. The new leys are late-maturing perennials so I reckon we have another week at least before they start heading out and quality deteriorates.

Beef price

At this stage, I am more concerned at the earlier than expected drop in the beef price.

We still have some cattle to sell out of the shed so they will have had all the costs of a long winter but facing a price decline rather than a steady increase as we would normally expect at this time of the year.

There was a lot of optimism on the outlook for the crop especially when meeting the gluten-free specifications

On the crop side, the dry weather has let us get totally up to date.

The winter barley is fully eared out and just about to gets it final protective application.

The oats and wheat heads are both visible but not quite fully emerged. At the end of last week, our oats customer had an update on markets and prospects for the crop.

There was a lot of optimism on the outlook for the crop especially when meeting the gluten-free specifications – though not surprisingly, everyone was acutely conscious of the price drops on the futures markets.

While the contracted oats carries a premium, the price is tied to the feed wheat price so we are scaling back our price expectations and total returns for the 2023 harvest which should start in about six weeks’ time, all going according to plan.