The rainfall was welcome as grass crops have been moderate up to now. The lack of action for my two grass cutters has left time for sheep shearing to be completed with only our 14 Leicester ewes left to do. The ewes have been fairly good to clip this time.
The harvest men will be hoping the weather settles down in the coming weeks and I am hoping their predictions of a shortage of straw, and subsequently a rise in price, will be proved wrong. After selling two geld cows last week, many hill suckler men are talking of selling cows and not replacing them. It is something I will consider doing towards winter if straw prices become too expensive, and our silage is in short supply.
Recently we had a sharp outbreak of nematodirus among a batch of lambs, with several losses. I took a faeces sample to the vets and they found a rather alarming 360 eggs per gram, which was deemed significant. We wormed them swiftly with some success but it reoccurred two weeks later, giving the lambs another set back. The late hatch out of eggs this season was unexpected but, after talking to other farmers, it has been their experience also.
The Texel-cross lambs have now come out of their 40-day withdrawal period from the fly-strike pour-on, and some are ready to market. Along with some pet lambs, I sold the first batch straight off their mothers at the local market at Barnard Castle. Prices were slightly better than I expected, with 40kg lambs realising £1.60/kg.• For more columns from other Farmer Focus writers