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Marie Prebble: 'The next couple of months will be busy selling lambs'

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I RETURNED home from Romney day at Ashford market slightly emptier handed than I had hoped.

 

I had anticipated a strong trade in ewe lambs and tegs as the breed is proving once again popular with farmers who, like myself, want a good performing, low input, maternal ewe.

 

Unfortunately, my budget could not stretch to the £100-£110 made by some of the top pens of lambs.

 

As it happens, those I had pencilled in the catalogue were all announced as prize-winners as they came through the ring, so at least my stockjudging was not too far off.

 

The East Kent Ploughing Match, an annual highlight in the local farming calendar, has just seen its 72nd year.

This year my father was asked to judge the hay and he did a good job.

 

All the usual trade stands, familiar faces, and complimentary refreshments were present alongside a guest-appearance from the Royal Logistic Corps bomb disposal squad after someone found a World War II mortar.

 

We have finally had some rain in Kent after a sustained period of very dry weather, which had put pressure on grazing for a time.

 

Dry conditions proved a challenge when digging holes to assess soil structure at the AHDB-hosted workshop held on the Romney Marsh in mid-September.

 

It was interesting to discuss individual farm circumstances including timings of operations, plant rooting structure and sward management across varying soil types.

 

At the time of writing we are still waiting on a contractor to drill eight hectares (20 acres) of grass, with plantain, chicory and clover in the mix.

 

Hopefully it will go in soon as the temperatures have started dropping at night, although there is still a bit of warmth and moisture in the soil to sustain some late-autumn grass growth.

 

I am keeping an eye on the condition of the ewes in the lead up to mating and will be soon getting the handpiece back in action for dagging.

 

The next couple of months will be busy selling lambs both at market and with Kent Shepherd branding direct to customers.

 

Shearing lambs gives a good growth-spurt as they spend much longer out grazing instead of hiding from the sun. It is great to see my Kent half-bred ewe lambs looking strong on grazing away from the farm.

 

Most of my wethers will be sold before the end of November as I am away shearing in New Zealand in December and January.

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