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Tony Shepherd and John Henderson: Recent run of good weather makes working outside a pleasure

Lambing time has finally finished at St Helen’s Farm, with the last ewe delivering a pair of twins as we write this article.

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It has been a good lambing time with the least losses for a few years and some strong lambs running around.

 

The ewes have all had their back ends clipped and the lambs have had their first worming dose along with an orf vaccine.

 

It always amazes me how we all farm differently to cope with local conditions; a friend down South in Hampshire had to get his sheep shorn because they were getting fly strike on clean wool, up here it is usually late-July or early August before we see that problem.

 

With the recent run of warm, fine weather making it a forward spring, working outside has been a pleasure and makes the weeks of non-stop rain seem a distant memory – as farmers we get to enjoy the highs and lows of the great British weather.

 

Cattle turnout was delayed by a week due to a late TB test which meant we had to buy a few bales of haylage, but with a clear test and the cattle given a trace element bolus at the same time the inconvenience was soon forgotten. With the beef trade still falling we are hoping for it to turn around by the time we have some to sell in late-summer. A call to the abattoir for its prediction is a price about the 350p/kg mark, but nobody can be sure.

 

Pleased

We had a visit from one of the farmers who supplies us with our suckled calves as he was in the area on holiday. Viewing the cattle with the sun shining in fields with plenty of grass they looked well, which pleased both of us. His spring consignment of around 25-head is due to be delivered early June.

 

John has been pro-active on the TB front by organising a back fence to be erected against part of the boundary. He reminds me they all had to do this umpteen years ago and feels it is better to be positive about doing something than waiting to be told. There is also the advantage it keeps our rather bigger animals back off the fence.

 

We also fixed a couple of c.o.d field gates (carry or drag), which is money well spent when the gate is in constant use.

 

It is good for both parties to our agreement that we like to keep the property in decent repair and up to the job.

 

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