Pip and Matt Smith © Jim Wileman

This month’s round-up comes direct from Exeter neonatal unit where Pip recently gave birth to our first son Dustyn.

We are very proud of our new addition and look forward to returning home to Bodmin, Cornwall, in due course.

We are lucky and grateful to have Pip’s parents Jimmy and Sheila looking after the ranch in the meanwhile.

See also: Read more from our Livestock Farmer Focus writers

Back on the farm Rich has turned up with the digger and has begun cleaning ditches and tidying up areas we wish to recover.

The weather has been so wet it has not helped, but we are hoping he gets enough dry days to finish the job.

In Hawkes Bay, New Zealand, they are getting pummelled with rain – 400mm in four days.

It is lambing season there and my brother’s neighbour reckons he has lost 3,000 lambs because of it, so we can’t complain.

They did raise a smile when they heard the shadow agricultural minister that’s been appointed here is a vegan – it certainly makes a political joke of the UK farming industry.

On the sheep front, the teasers have been running with the ewes. We use teasers purely to try and condense lambing to as short of period as possible.

We have been busy preparing all our sheep for tupping time in the lead up to Dustyn being born.

All the sheep have been wormed and bolused with selenium, cobalt, iodine and copper.

They are also having a drench of vitamins that will get working straight away.

We are low on the farm in these trace elements so it is an ideal way to ensure they have all received the required amounts to hopefully improve ovulation in the lead up to tupping.

All the ewe lambs are now tagged. It was a tedious job, but I did get to spend some quality time with the wife before our son came along. It makes the job a lot swifter having Pip load the applicators.

I am now contemplating ways I can put Dustyn to good use.

He didn’t come with a shearing hand-piece but he does have a toy lamb and his first book is Pete the Sheep so he’s in training already.


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