Herd Management

Management of The Moss cattle has in the past been kept simple with the cows being 'out-wintered' for 40 years, but in 2011 due to restrictions enforced by NVZ rules, cattle now have to come indoors for the winter where they are fed a mixture of haylage, straw, molasses and minerals.

Cows are also given a high mineral bolus in January to avoid any deficiencies in the later stages of pregnancy. We try to maintain a reasonably tight calving window, which begins in the first week of March and runs through until the end of May. Though we calve indoors, the calves tend to be outside within 24 hours of birth and in July 2011 we started to creep feed calves to give the mothers a helping hand.

Once weaned calves are housed and put onto a total mixed ration of barley, balancer nuts, haylage and molasses. Once selected, the best bull calves are put on to an improved home pedigree ration and the rest are sold on as stores; of the bulls not sold privately, the best are then selected for the Perth sale at Stirling in February. Replacement heifers are selected, in early spring with the rest offered for sale at either Carlisle or privately off the farm. Those retained are then sent out to grass.

Health Status

Health status is also a vital component of the management process at the Moss and we have monitored the health of the herd for more than 20 years. We are members of the SAC Premium Health Scheme and are accredited for Johne’s, BVD and Lepto and vaccinate for IBR. We are in a four year testing parish for Bovine TB.

Showing

For the first time in 15 years, 2011 saw the decision made to start showing cattle again. Our 2011 season started well with a reserve championship at the Cheshire Show and a first, second and third at the Summer National Show at Westmorland in 2011. This was followed in 2012 with the Champion Aberdeen Angus at Westmorland and Champion Yearling and Reserve Overall Female at the National Winter Calf Show in Carlisle.

We intend to carry on showing over the next few years, hopefully building on our success in the ring.