THIS time of year is the lull before the storm – lambing, sowing and calving all start in the next two to three weeks.
How the weather can change in a short time. Two days ago seed drills were everywhere sowing spring barley on lighter land, everyone trying to take advantage of the dry weather. Today we have had a considerable snow fall which is blowing hard. This weather has come at the worst time with the ewes near to lambing. Ours are in fairly good condition but more of this weather will soon start to tell.
The ewes were scanned at the end of January and the results show we have more lambs than usual with fewer triplets and singles. It sounds like a lambing made in heaven so far but we will have to wait and see. The end of last years crop are now away averaging over £60 each, that is £24 above the lambs we sold in September with £10 a head extra costs.
Cows have had their rotavirus vaccine and a shot of vitamins A,D and E ready for calving. I have never seen them in better condition. Even the few that are half dairy bred are looking well. This type, mostly from Holsteins, is more difficult to keep flesh on and can be harder to get back in calf, not to mention the poorer quality of beef she produces.
One of the important jobs we do at this time is to get in a professional foot trimmer to check all the bulls. Money spent now saves trouble later when the bulls go out to work.
After boasting about the crop and yield of winter oats last harvest, I doubled the acreage this year, only to come unstuck. Winter oats do not like temperatures of -20C. They go yellow and die. Most of it will have to be ploughed out and resown with spring barley.
Interestingly, though, this crop was grown at 50ft above sea level. A crop on one of the other farms at 800ft is OK.
While writing, news of the tragic events at Dunblane has unfolded. Dunblane is an agricultural village just like many all over the UK, where you think this could never happen. Being so close makes the tragedy feel even worse, if that is possible.n
Cows at Balmanno Farm have had their rotavirus vaccine and shot of A, D, and E vitamins ready for calving, says Peter Scott.