Farmer Focus Livestock: Charlie Armstrong finds winter has taken its toll on ewe condition – and his roads

Lambing is going slowly, which has given us time to put up lambing nets and field shelters. Potato boxes are being used as straw is too precious to use as field shelters.

Grass is nonexistent except in fields containing a coxfoot and white-clover mixture. They have been grazed harder than any other fields all winter and have 2-3in of grass cover, whereas fields shut up since last year and had muck applied still have no grass. This means more coxfoot has been ordered to overseed 500 acres and 200 acres of new leys, which will be sown with 80-90% coxfoot.

Winter has taken its toll on ewe condition, and feeding barley and oats will continue for a good while. As it is now dried up we are managing to pull the snacker easily, so easily we have joined two together to save on time and fuel.

This winter has also taken its toll on the road leading up to our farm. Huge pot holes and for a 30m stretch there is no road at all. The tar has been washed out along with the sub-base followed by the fibre optic cables. Contacting the council didn’t make any difference, but when it read about it in the local paper instead of repairing it, it just closed the road.

Fortunately, being busy has saved me buying tickets for the Six Nations rugby tournament, which wasn’t half as entertaining as working here for the past few weeks with our four-nation workforce. I had a complaint of lack of sleep from one man and after a quick mental calculation, I realised he was working only 14 hours a day (as we are not that busy yet!). He then told me it wasn’t the work, it was the Scots man snoring that was the problem. I’ve bought him a set of ear plugs.

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