By the third week of May, we had virtually no rain and the most heavily stocked fields were beginning to suffer. The constant drying wind has made it difficult to spray weeds, while the cold nights have discouraged shearing. But the lambs are enjoying the conditions and the tally at first drench shows minimal losses since turnout.
We have now weaned all the tame lambs, and luckily only one gorged itself and died. The few that had a touch of pneumonia responded well to oxytetracycline. We now face the dilemma of whether or not to turn them out to grass. Past experience suggests they will not thrive without supplementary feed, in which case we may as well hang the expense and finish them indoors on ad-lib pellets.
Peter Morris’s resignation as chief executive of the NSA came as a surprise – it will be difficult to find someone with a more thorough knowledge of our industry. Unfortunately, Peter’s best efforts to negotiate favourable terms on sheep identification appear to have come to nothing and UK sheep farmers are now facing the absolute worst case scenario – individual movement recording of the historic flock with zero tolerance of errors.
With the current unprecedented global demand for sheep meat, coupled with dwindling EU handouts, surely the balance of power has shifted away from the eurocrats and towards the producers. Let us hope the NSA select someone with the courage and resolve to take a far more aggressive approach in fighting this useless imposition.