Farmer Focus Livestock: Bryan Griffiths sees good start with lambing

The past four weeks seem to have been one constant round of feeding stock and scraping up. But I have found time to dock all the ewes while Liz vaccinated them against footrot and clostridial diseases.

Just fewer than 100 older ewes have lambed, almost without a hitch, and have been turned out to grass. We have a few spare lambs and running triplets, always good insurance against any premature mishaps in the main flock.

I have cleaned out and disinfected the early-lambing shed, as this is useful extra space for the main event due to start on 22 March. By then our two daughters will be home from university, along with two first-year vet students from Bristol. An injection of youthful optimism is always welcome at lambing and certainly helps moderate my language.

The last days of February were sufficiently spring-like, tempting me to apply nitrogen on half the farm. Little did I know the first week of March would bring 6in of snow. I don’t know how much fertiliser disappeared with the melt water, but the fields certainly greened up.

With prices falling, we have not yet committed to buying any compound fertiliser.

I recently attended a presentation on grassland management by Charlie Morgan from Aberystwyth University. As the evening progressed I sank ever lower in my seat as the list of my management failings grew, until someone brought up the subject of moles. Charlie explained an infestation of moles is indicative of a healthy earthworm population, which in turn suggests an essentially sound soil structure. I left the meeting with a spring in my step.

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