Robbie Newlands: 'What started as a couple of gates to move ended up as a complete revamp'

farm life

This year has seen a long-awaited ambition achieved – we built a shed to cover our sheep and cattle handling areas.


It has made such a difference when handling stock as we have been able to get things done. Previously, the job would have been postponed until the weather had improved.


It will also give us the option of keeping slaughter lambs in so they can go onto the lorry dry. In addition to the handling areas, the shed also covers a part of the old farmyard and will give us more room for in-calf heifers as they come to calving in the spring.


The trouble is, as with most changes, there are knock-on effects and where gates swung freely before there are now stanchions in the way so we had to do a bit of rejigging of cattle handling to get things to work.


What started as a couple of gates to move ended up as a revamp of the collecting area. Hopefully I will not need to worry about the next revamp.


By the time you read this, we will, I hope, have all our calves clipped, injected with their second dose of pneumonia vaccine and moved to their winter accommodation.


In the meantime we are setting up electric guard wires round the field we use for cows once they are weaned.


It does not take long to do and for many years it has been successful in keeping cows at bay until they get over weaning. However, I wonder if I am tempting fate.


Once we get settled into the winter routine there is usually some time for sorting out fences. This year seems to be worse than usual for broken posts and strainers.


The treatment used a few years ago was not up to the job and we are seeing fences which are only a few years old in need of major repair.


The trouble is when you try to go back to suppliers, everyone blames everyone else and we end up getting nowhere.


Oh well, I quite like fencing and thinking I may have overcome that escaping old basket of a ewe is quite satisfying.


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