John Bainbridge is working hard to contain orf

After experiencing one of the warmest and driest Aprils on record, like most farmers across the country we could do with a bit of rain.

As a consequence I have yet to venture out with the fertiliser spreader. Instead I find myself carting water to ewes and lambs where natural water supplies have dried up.

The process of marking and vaccinating against clostridial diseases along with pasturella is well under way. One job absent though is our usual vaccination against orf. After 25 years of using this vaccine, its unavailability did not go down too well.

I did however manage to acquire a few bottles of the vaccine before it ran out. I may use these on the Swaledale shearlings with twin lambs that are kept in separate fields from the rest of the flock. They often suffer from sore teats that are susceptible to orf and can then lead to mastitis.

As an alternative, with little enthusiasm from my vet, I bought some buckets to help keep it at bay, which unlike the vaccine are there to treat it rather than prevent it occurring. At the moment lambs are fairly clear and any that start to form noticeable scabs are sprayed immediately, along with their mother’s udder, with a disinfectant.

Lambing itself has reached a near conclusion and the rams have been assessed with some poor performers making their way to the auction mart. Here a friend cheered me up when he told me that last year’s purchase of a Leicester ram lamb had acquired the name ‘Bassett’ as it had got all sorts.