Farmer Focus Livestock: Charles Armstrong tests for TB

Twenty cows with young calves and one Angus bull is all that remains of our suckler cow herd. With these few remaining we started our next TB test, hoping everything would be negative. Ministry vets carrying out tests on the first day found an inconclusive among fattening bullocks. This is annoying, as most of these bullocks will be slaughtered by the end of February.

To make up for selling these cows we have purchased 1000 in-lamb ewes. Some have been scanned already and the rest will be scanned next week. Our scan man scanned 740 ewe hoggs, 500 were in lamb, 240 empty.

After some thought as to whether to sell the empty ones fat or keep them as gimmers, the decision was made to run them on until autumn as breeding sheep, as they will probably be in short supply. These have all been dosed for fluke.

We still have plenty of grass, but I feel the quality is gone, so blocks have been put out to all the ewes along with silage. They have been eating neither, but the snow has solved that problem, and organic blocks costing £1000/t are being eaten like snow.

Bluetongue vaccine is ordered and everything will be vaccinated after scanning, then four days later they will be given a fluke drench and annual clostridial booster.

After all this is done we can look forward to lambing time, which will run from 17 March to 17 May.

Our old Honda bikes are tired, so have been changed for new ones along with a children’s bike for Henry, who has just turned five. No better age to do your first lambing with a welsh collie.

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