Livestock Farmer Focus: Charlie Armstrong has finished lambing

At last, lambing is finished. But the past two weeks were busy tagging, scratching for orf and giving all lambs a clostridial dose. Now that we’ve done that, the last of the remaining lambing staff will go. Hopefully clipping will fall inline with lambs getting their second clostridial vaccination.

A huge shortage of grass forced us to rent more grazing land. It also persuaded me to creep feed all the twin lambs. Getting the lambs to eat the creep feed wasn’t easy, I think it’s the price of it that’s putting them off, as it did me.

But with creep pellets being made just a couple of miles up the road at Northumbrian Organic Feeds, I know the quality of the ingredients are first class and the bills are usually first class too. This extra feeding might not pay off, but it can’t be anywhere near as bad as finishing cattle right now.

Being quoted £2.50/kg for finished cattle is nearly the equivalent of telling us to f*** off! Obviously there are still too many producing and finishing cattle in the UK. Or the trade is being manipulated by a small number of large beef buyers. The latter is probably true.

I’m struggling to decide whether to enter into OELS, HLS upland and do very little, or do I keep farming how I have all my life? Maybe our new government might have ideas, who knows, as I certainly don’t. Having just watched the DVD Food inc, it makes you wonder about farming of any description. Maybe David Cameron should just give the supermarkets all our subsidy and make them pay a realistic price for our lamb and beef.

On a slightly cheerier note, we have about 750 acres of newly drilled grass seeds that haven’t seen a drop of rain since they were drilled, but one day it will rain.

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