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Will Case: 'The long-running soap opera of the 2015 BPS is yet to come to a conclusion for us'

THIS time of year feels like we are climbing a mountain of sheep work. The fact it is wet and slippery underfoot is not helping progress.

THIS time of year feels like we are climbing a mountain of sheep work. The fact it is wet and slippery underfoot is not helping progress.

 

Heavy rain has once again been a feature this month, with one memorable downpour putting more than 30mm down in no time.

 

Things are feeling autumnal and unless the weather makes a sudden improvement we will be laying cattle in soon. It could be a long winter.

The dairy cows at Robbs Water are housed all-year-round however and seem quite happy about it.

 

Cows are supposed to be happiest outside, but when ours are dried off and turned out, all they want to do is come back into the shed.

We have been adding a few more cows this month and new additions have quickly gotten used to the robots.

 

The cow market has lifted slightly and there are signs of optimism.

 

Simon attended a meeting about forward selling some of our milk which is an exciting development; any way we can make the market work better for us will be helpful.

 

It will be interesting to see if this idea spreads – maybe to the red meat sector in some form?

Our breeding sheep sales have now finished, with replacement females bought and all tups sold.

 

We have had a really good year selling, with 43 boys going, mostly to repeat customers. Confidence is high in the sheep sector at the moment and it is good to see.

 

This month has seen us dipping sheep for the first time in three years.

 

Previously we have been using an injection to control scab, but this year we have changed our routine and it felt good to put them all through the tub.

 

Ewes are putting on condition and the main groups will soon be ready for the tup.

 

Tups are out with the early ewes already, but they seem slow to start and there has been little romance so far.

 

Pedigree Texel rams are out, and with the AI group, the sponges are in. This year we are using AI on 42 ewes to take advantage of some top quality genetics.

 

The long running soap opera of the 2015 Basic Payment Scheme is yet to come to a conclusion for us.

 

We are still waiting for a quarter of our payment and nobody can give us an answer as to why.

 

We are told it is on its way but they cannot say when. If the boot was on the other foot, I do not think the Rural Payment Agency would be quite as patient.

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