With the notable exception of this column, tasks involving pen, paper or computer screen fall into Liz’s domain. So when it came to doing our SFP form online I took up the co-pilot’s seat armed with a bundle of field data sheets and made what I considered to be helpful comments.


The process went smoothly enough with just two calls to the helpline, both of which were answered promptly and enabled us to continue. The main advantage of submitting the form online was that errors were picked up before sending, and an email receipt arrived in minutes.

Only by mid-May did we have enough grass to get the cattle out and close up fields for silage. We have vaccinated all the cattle against bluetongue and will jab the breeding flock at shearing.

All flocks have been gathered, lambs dosed with levamisole, marked and tallied up. The 300 oldest were looking particularly lacklustre, but improved dramatically following a drench for coccidiosis. The perennial problem of scald has meant having to train lambs to use the footbath.

Ordering slaughter tags for lambs was straightforward, but the two-three week delivery delay may catch people out. We have also ordered red replacements for ewes missing tags in the historic flock. Confusion still reigns, ask any two people how to identify a specific class of older sheep and you are likely to get two different answers.

With a joint 21st/50th birthday party planned for the summer, we kept back a nice continental hogget for the spit roast. Unfortunately, it turned out in-lamb and expired following a traumatic birth. But all is not lost, the supermarket is still doing three chickens for a tenner, so with a little tweaking of the guest list, we should be OK.

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