©Jim Wileman

Well does anyone want to talk about the rugby? I must say I’m pleased with the outcome – not only is it good to retain the world cup, but feels great to beat the Aussies, especially as it should have been Scotland in their position.

See also: Read more from the livestock farmer focus writers

We put the rams in mid-October after using teasers for two cycles. We are trying to get lambing done in as short a time as possible, so I can focus on shearing and training for the record attempt in July.

They were slow to go to start with, but after a fortnight 1,100 out of the 1,400 had gone to the ram.

I’m glad the wife is on board for lambing next year and not on maternity leave as she was last lambing.

Jimmy and I went to an AHDB live-to-dead day last month and we both came out with mixed thoughts.

I was impressed with how everything ran in the abattoir, but still couldn’t help feeling there was too much chance for human error in the grading system.

They told us some slaughterhouses were considering using a New Zealand computerised axial tomography scan system to remove the human error factor, which understandably the graders weren’t happy about.

But as farmers, we have all looked at our grade sheets from time to time and wondered what has gone on. It might be able to create a bit more consistency with the grades.

We also started draining some springs, which were seeping into low-lying areas. We are slowly getting the desired result by using either an open ditch or tile drains.

This will allow us to put some crossings in drier areas and stop stock crossing through streams.

This year stock have suffered from strip (inter-digital dermatitis), due to having so much long grass this summer.

The streams are a weak point as following foot-bathing, the stock would have to cross through water on the way back to the field.

Pip has been busy – and not only with the new arrival. She has now got a new accounts program and is trying to get her head around that.

It will be a key tool for us to be able to analyse our costs to our return. After all it is a business, even if some days it feels like the funny farm.


Matt and Pip Smith run 1,085 breeding Romneys and Romney cross Lleyn ewes across 121ha. Matt is also a shearing contractor and trains sheep dogs.