Livestock

Humid weather causes midge surge

Sunday 12 August 2012 06:00

Silage crops have been bumper this time with 30% more bales than usual. On recommendation, I had thought about putting six layers of wrap instead of four on some better grass. However, the rate I've been using roles of plastic, I soon thought otherwise. My only concern is the possible shortage of good quality sheep silage but time will tell.

There was the small incidence of getting a round baler stuck in a wet patch of a field but no harm was done apart from the formation of a few deep ruts. Anyway, on the present forecast, the odd field left to do may make hay if I dare to mention the word.

Humid weather has led to an increase in fly and midge populations. If time permits I will look to begin shower dipping soon.

Not so long ago a representative from Natural England paid me a visit to clarify the main points of my UELS agreement. On a tour round the farm he was impressed by the amount of bird life, particularly waders. He pointed out that I wasn't using that to my advantage. So I may make a few adjustments.

For me, August starts a downward spiral towards my first main sheep sales in September with some gimmer lambs already weaned. Averages at the Thame and Bicester sheep fair were down £5 for Mule shearlings. If this correlates to the gimmer lamb sales then I don't think many breeders will be complaining too much.


John Bainbridge farms 600ha (1,483 acres) of rented MoD hill land near Richmond, North Yorkshire, along with 21ha (52 acres) of family-owned land with his sons Lance and Reuben. His 1,400 sheep, plus followers, along with 70 suckler cows, are the main farm enterprise.

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