September is one of my favourite months; the crisp mornings, the bright sunny days and the smell of bloom dip!
The breeding sheep sales are a special time of year for me too, with all the hopes of a good trade and anticipation of new arrivals.
The Texel sales are a highlight with selling, shows and socialising. This year has gone well, with our shearling tups finding good commercial demand and our gimmer shearlings were a very good trade.
Dad says I should sell more gimmers as they don’t need as much feeding as the tups.
We have purchased a new stock tup this year at Kelso from Ian Murray. Glenway Ultimate is our new boy. He’s a mighty sheep and we’re very pleased with him. I look forward to seeing his lambs next year.
We have bought-in most of the replacements for our commercial flock, with 160 Mules added to our own Texel cross shearlings. The North of England Mule is the backbone of our flock and rarely lets us down. Sometimes breeding all our own replacements appeals, but I’ve not seen many breeds which can match the well-rounded Mule. The only down side to the Mule is the cost of bringing them in. We’ve always believed in the rule of ‘two fat lambs for a shearling’, and this year we’ve just about managed it.
It has been a great year for producing fat lambs which, as we all know, is a double-edged sword. This has been another year where it has proved a good move to sell as many as early as possible rather than look for extra weight. I wonder if there is any potential in forward selling part of our lamb crop to spread the risk? I think it would be a leap of faith that might benefit both farmers and the meat industry, and would be interested to know if anyone has ever tried it.
September has also seen us empty a shed of spent hens. This has been a flock which we have taken out early due to problems with egg size and mortality. We will clean down the shed and perform some repairs and maintenance before the new birds arrive in early November. While catching the birds during the night we were paid a visit by the police. They had seen the wagon and forklift lights at 2am and had come to investigate. It’s nice to know they’re watching.