For many years we have used Charollais rams as terminal sires. We have selected them “by eye” on-farm from a local breeder and have been well satisfied with the longevity of the rams and the growth rate of their progeny. Our only slight concern is that some lambs tend to run to fat producing a few 3H carcasses.
A national breeding company has boldly claimed they can improve our results by targeting our specific ram requirements with the use of EBVs. They have supplied us with two Scotland-bred Charollais/Texel rams and we are looking forward to running a fair and accurate trial this coming season.
Our 160 replacement shearling ewes have been vaccinated against both enzootic abortion and toxoplasmosis, and received a quarantine dose of the new orange wormer.
We have replaced our quad, and resisted the temptation to upgrade to an automatic gearbox and more powerful engine, opting instead for a 300cc manual machine identical to the one that has served us so well for nine years. The only issue is, after just one day in the mud, none of the neighbours will know it is new.
We were pleased to host the south-west NSA farm walk. We have enjoyed and learned much from many visits to other farms and it seemed only fair to open our gates to fellow sheep farmers.
We had a slight feeling of guilt when the sun shone, and all around farmers were scurrying after corn, straw, second cut silage and even hay. We had to remind ourselves our grain harvest is delivered in and paid for with the lambs we worked hard to keep alive in April. Any surplus grass we have now, will be eaten in situ and will hopefully extend the autumn grazing.