Farmer Focus: Fat lamb sales help ease pressure

Tupping is in full swing here. This year, the main mob of ewes are in with Abermax rams and a group of 200 shearlings are in with Focus Prime rams.

The HLS ground is being rested and ewes are being rotated around 2ha paddocks on the better grassland and some neighbouring winter keep.

I have invested in some more electric fencing equipment to help split up paddocks and keep ewes in, but grass is being eaten up quite quickly and we will probably have to feed out some silage by Christmas.

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Thankfully the last of the fat lambs have gone, which has helped to ease the pressure.

Breeding ewe lamb weights have been disappointing this year, so they will not be tupped this time and will be run on to go to the ram as yearlings next year.

We will also have to review how much silage we sell in future as there are more mouths to feed now and I don’t want to run out of forage.

We recently had a review of our sheep health plan with a group of vet students from Liverpool University, which has been very helpful.

There are plenty of adjustments to make in order to cope with increasing stock numbers and improve overall flock performance and lamb growth.

We have decided to participate in a full flock monitoring programme with the university, which will involve five visits a year covering and monitoring different aspects of the flock and helping us to make more timely management decisions. I’m very much looking forward to this.  

Sadly, we have recently decided to stop rearing calves, mainly because of a lack of reliable labour.

I simply can’t run all three enterprises when on my own and have decided to simplify things.

This is a real shame and it wasn’t an easy decision; the plan now is to expand the sheep and gritting enterprises, which we can manage without any additional labour. We also plan to start looking for a bigger farm.