Updated: Mar 28, 2019
EAR tagging suckled calves single handed has been made a simpler and safer job by Tobermore producer Derek McKinney.
“Like most working with a suckler herd I have had near misses and painful injuries that could become the seat of long term health problems,” Derek explained.
“So a safe handling system and using Typifix tissue sampling tags for BVD testing from QuickTag that are easy to apply has been a priority in recent years.
“Ironically I did not appreciate just how good Typifix tags are until some tags from another maker arrived here in error. We have long used Typifix tags, which come with good strong, long handled applicators and are just so reliable.
“The other brand proved unreliable and footery to apply especially working alone with suckled calves.
“Typifix makers QuickTag keep improving their tags and as regards BVD sampling we have never had a single 'Insufficient Sample' report back from the lab.
“With Typifix tags the sample simply cannot fall out and is sealed and secure with no contamination Having used these tags for nigh on six years we will be staying with the proven brand.
“Now obtained from Erica Thom at her recently opened Killeen Animal Health store on the Gulladuff Road, Bellaghy these tags do the job time and again.”
Aside from a suckler herd of mainly half bred Limousin cows run with a Limousin bull the McKinney family buy in some calves to rear. All stock being sold on as stores, mostly through Richard Beattie's saleyard in Draperstown.
Derek also keeps 150 Texel crossbred ewes not lambing until after St Patrick's Day so easing the pressure on early grass. Ewe lambs are put to a Charollais ram and the rest run with Texel tups from leading local pedigree breeder Richard Henderson.
“As well we grow potatoes and barley in co-operation with my brother though expanding the farm business has slowed this past few years due to time pressure, “ Derek added..
“In 2014 I was encouraged to gain election for this rural area, Moyola, on to Mid Ulster District Council and find the role very satisfying. Aside from trying to ensure the council provides value for money, practical services to the entire community one can help individuals deal with problems. I was elected to get things done now rather than point score in the media.
“As a farmer representing a rural area I find a councillor's work interesting. but it is always a balancing act as regards time.
“Coming home from a long meeting to then deal with cows calving or sheep lambing into the early hours brings a councillor back down to earth!
“Hence the emphasis here on decent handling facilities plus Typifix livestock ID and BVD sampling tags to make working with cattle less stressful for man and beast alike.”