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James Powell: 'Our sons want to help with lambing. What could possibly go wrong?'


The ground is drying up nicely after a wet week or so which brought March in like a lion. Let’s hope it leaves as a lamb. The wet weather stopped us fencing a water course and replanting a hedgerow as the land was completely waterlogged and unpassable, but the fencing has got to be completed by March 31 for the Glastir small grant scheme.


We are, thankfully, back underway thanks to a committed contractor who is balancing the job between his own lambing at home. The small grant scheme is a very welcome bonus as it allows us to concentrate on areas we want to improve, both functionally and environmentally, without tying the whole farm up. It is, in my opinion, one of the more positive options available.


The lambs are coming on well and this year we have been lucky to get away with barely any of the problems associated with the weeks approaching lambing without administering abortion vaccinations or, as we were previously doing, blanket dosing the whole flock with antibiotics if any problems occur. This is a huge benefit financially and will help reduce any future antibiotic resistance.


This year we are not routinely giving lambs an antibiotic injection soon after birth, instead relying on increased hygiene in the mothering pens and using a lot more lime and straw. This trial is working so far, although bacteria build up will be more of a challenge as we go on.


The outdoor lambing cross-breds and hill ewes are not due yet, but several Welsh ewes have lambed to a lothario tup lamb who obviously had a cheeky twinkle in his eye while they were on the swedes last month. The ewes are looking well from the swedes and are now on the lambing fields where we may start to feed rolls to the twin-bearing ewes next week.


With the night temperatures about 6-14degC in the day, our three sons are keen to assist outside and our Dutch lambing staff seem more than competent. What could possibly go wrong?

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