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Christine Ryder: Studying form before sheep sales is a serious business

Well it is the busy sheep sale time of year again, and we cannot use our dining room table any more because it is covered in various sheep society flock books and sale catalogues.

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Well it is the busy sheep sale time of year again, and we cannot use our dining room table any more because it is covered in various sheep society flock books and sale catalogues. And woe betide anyone who closes a book which has been left open on a specific page.

 

The fat lamb trade continues to be unpredictable, but hopefully taking a load a week from now on will see things even out. Chris is now busy sorting Mule, Texel and Leicester gimmer lambs for flock replacements, but hopefully not too many Leicesters, as a friend once said there are only so many Leicesters a marriage will stand.

 

These Mule breeders take it seriously when sorting lambs – how many times have I heard them say it is a good white or it is a bit blue? There are lots of technical points to study and in the end they breed a fat lamb.

 

We bought a weed wiper this year and it has been put to good use, particularly on large areas of rushes. Using glyphosate, it has done an excellent job and Chris is delighted with the results. The great thing about the weed wiper is it has not killed any of the grass or clover.

 

Because of the Higher Level Stewardship scheme, we cannot spray large areas of our land, so this is the only thing we can do to control weeds.

 

Recently, we hosted Felliscliffe Young Farmers for a sheep judging evening. It was lovely to see so many young people being so enthusiastic. Some had never judged before and this was a practice night for Nidderdale Show in two weeks, so I hope they learned something and have a go there.

 

September is always a busy month once the children are back to school and all the older people come back out of hiding, so our B&B is really busy. We are fortunate there is a lot to do round here and I am hoping the promised Indian summer lasts for them and for me, as all these guests generate a whole pile of washing to get dry, which in turn becomes a mountain of ironing. When some guests checked out this morning their parting shot was ‘and are you doing anything nice today?’

 

And oh no, just as I finish writing this, the man from the Swaledale Breeders Association has called to drop off yet another book.

 

Christine Ryder, North Yorkshire

Christine Ryder and husband Chris farm 242 hectares (600 acres) at Blubberhouses, in the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Beauty. They are tenants on their home farm and also run a B&B. Stock includes Swaledale and Mule flocks, as well as a herd of Belted Galloways. The farm also hosts educational access visits.

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