Time is flying fast since I have been in New Zealand. A couple of weeks off work over Christmas was more than I had expected, so returning to work in the New Year felt a bit like starting from scratch.
Getting back to 200 lambs/day was a good start though, and long awaited, so I hope my shearing is improving.
A recent highlight was driving out to watch the three-stand, eight-hour strongwool ewe shearing record in Hawkes Bay.
The total for the day was 1,611 and the fleeces were full of pumice due to the harsh conditions in the area. A supreme effort and great to watch.
There are a few shows taking place over the next couple of weeks which I want to compete in. I hope to have consistent work for the next two weeks until I fly down south for the World Shearing Championships, then home in time for scanning ewes.
Lambing at home will not start until the second week of April, so I will need to decide if I will be shearing and housing some of the flock as I did last year.
I sheared 100 twins just after scanning and they stayed inside on hay then some concentrate later in gestation, before being turned out with their lambs, which seemed to be successful.
My father has been amazing looking after the flock in my absence, moving pregnant ewes when required, feeding out some hay and keeping check on the nearly 300 ewe lambs we are running through winter – some of my own Kent half-breds and some bought-in Romneys.
I am looking forward to being back on-farm with my dogs, sheep and family, as shearing is just one part of farming for me and I am beginning to miss the day-to-day of looking after stock.
It is great to be working with two young Welsh, two English and one Scottish farmer, who are all equally devoted to their farming, working dogs and sheep.
Most Kiwi shearers are not primarily farmers, so talking about stock farming is not really on the cards. It has been a fantastic opportunity to improve my shearing and, although I have not had as many full days as I would have liked, the experience will undoubtedly stay with me for a long time.