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Tony Shepherd and John Henderson: Share farming enthusiasm grows again, and a fell run in prospect

Feedback from John regarding the series of share farming meeting which we mentioned last month was very positive, with plenty of interest and the right questions being asked. 

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John was speaking this week at the Northern Farming Conference in Hexham, which coincided with another engagement, this time organised by the National Sheep Association in Cirencester entitled ‘The next generation of sheep farmer conference’.

 

His boots were filled by David Coates who share farms at Pot Haw Farm, Coniston Cold, with John, and will have done a far better presentation than I am capable of, titled ‘Starting from scratch as a share farmer’. To have such widespread interest is encouraging.

 

With the Tenant Farmers Association pushing hard for better tenancy agreements and share farming being pushed to the fore, hopefully sustained hard work by all parties will result in more land becoming available for the younger generation.

 

We sold the smallest 80 of our remaining lambs as stores at CCM auction and were pleased with the trade. One buyer told me they were up £5/head on the previous sale, with a pen of drawn Suffolk cross gimmer lambs making £2 more than similar wether lambs.

Fat lambs

A small batch of fat lambs went deadweight when the price had fallen. The price difference between the fat lambs averaging 20kg deadweight and the store lambs I would guestimate at 32kg liveweight was only a couple of pounds per head.

 

The tups went in with a group of older ewes on October 20 and with the rest of the flock on October 27 in ideal conditions, so at least the sheep year has got off to a good start.

 

The last few fat cattle went just before the shed was needed for stock to come inside, with the suckled calves receiving their second pneumonia vaccination hopefully this will reduce any problems this winter. By the time this article goes to print hopefully all the cattle will be housed so we will have had an extended summer.

 

The next job will be to get the silage tested to work out the wintering rations, with the emphasis on growing the suckled calves at 1kg/day plus and growing the older cattle big enough to be ready for finishing.

 

My fell running mate John Thompson has entered us for a 16-mile run this weekend on Pendle Hill. I am beginning to think what seemed like a good idea in the comfort of the dining room might turn out to be a bridge too far, but only time will tell.

 

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