Season’s greetings. I hope you have all enjoyed a wonderful Christmas, writes Cumbrian farmer and FG columnist Will Case.
The dust has finally settled after the excitement of the big day and our boys are busy playing with their presents.
We have very much enjoyed the festivities with family and friends. This year has flown, it’s hard to believe we’re at the end of it already.
December has seen us scan both sheep and cows. At the beginning of the month we scanned the Texels and the early commercial ewes. The Texel ewes came out at 186 per cent and the commercials at 204 per cent which I was very happy with.
The ewes are in terrific condition here after going into autumn a bit leaner than usual. Grass has grown late into the season and we are only just starting to offer silage to ewes now; quite a contrast to the cold wet conditions of last December.
Our Salers females are all scanned, with the cows scanning at 100 per cent and our heifers have been particularly pleasing, with a batch of younger girls due to calve at two years old.
This has been the first time we have had such a strong even batch to try it. They are in-calf to the SalerS bull for hopefully an easy calving, but we may need to put them on a diet as they are in superb condition.
Better to be that way than the other.
We have had a bit of a blip with the hens this month as we had some unexpected mortality in our younger flock. After talking to the vet we decided to post-mortem some birds to get to the bottom of things.
As our vet is in Cheshire and was tied up at short notice, he came up with a novel solution.
We did a ‘FaceTime postmortem’ via the smartphone. Dad held my phone and our vet guided me on a crash course in dissection.
We quickly discovered worms present. Wormers were ordered and the problem quickly solved. You can’t beat a bit of creativity.
This month has seen us pass our whole herd TB test, which can be a stressful occasion for all involved.
We also passed our FABBL inspection after a good tidy. Sometimes we need a deadline to get things done.
There could be much uncertainty in 2019, but we will approach it with a positive attitude and look forward to the New Year. I hope you all have a good one.