Farmer Focus: Getting sheep and shearers ready

I’m pleased to report the new seed drill was a success and the grass seeds are coming up really well.

Thankfully, the conditions have been pretty favourable, so it will be more than ready for weaning our ewe lambs on to, or even if we need to put that final little bit of condition on the ewes in the lead up to the record attempt. 

Preparations for my brother’s attempt at the eight-hour ewe shearing world record are going well with most of the sheep looking really good and Rowly is training really hard and looking super fit.

He will be turning up here next week for the final lead up. The whole team is really looking forward to it on the 24 July.

Here on the farm it will be open to the public again raising money for the local children’s hospice.

See also: Read more from our Livestock Farmer Focus writers

The deer have been calving away steadily and getting on with it really well.

It’s a real learning curve with this new venture but it has been really enjoyable seeing all the young calves around and it really does seem like less is more in terms of staying out of their hair and letting them do their own thing.

We gave all the sheep the once over and all ewes got fly treatments to keep them fly free ahead of the world record attempt. The lambs also got their first vaccine.

It was interesting handling the mobs that are on the AHDB and Germinal trial and seeing what looks to be a noticeable difference in the lambs already as well as pasture quality. I’m looking forward to seeing the first lot of results. The open day will be on the 4 July.

On the shearing front, it is been a busy time. I’ve also been teaching shearing courses for the British Wool Marketing Board around the country, going as far north as Carlisle and out to Kent.

I’m really starting to feel sorry for my old school teachers as this teaching lark isn’t that easy. However, I seem to have discovered a new-found patience.

Despite that, it has been really satisfying seeing young shearers go away from the course a bit further on than when they arrived.

Matt and Pip Smith run deer,1,085 breeding Romneys and Romney-cross Lleyn ewes across 121ha in Cornwall. Matt is also a shearing contractor and train sheepdogs.