Farmer focus, livestock: Charlie Armstrong

All cattle are now housed so we can save grass for sheep as we have little fodder – mostly due to the lack of rain, but also due to the fact some mindless person has been setting straw stacks on fire in our locality. Five farms all close to the A1 motorway have had buildings and straw burned, thankfully no one has been injured.

The fire brigade made a good job of saving a shed full of fertiliser, but inside it was like a sauna only with more water, hence 120t of fertiliser was moved in searing heat.

Sorting sheep is nearly finished and the last cull ewes have been sent to Acklington Mart. On arriving at the mart I helped catch two goats that were on the road. It turned out they were wearing halters and had been tied, but trading standards officials thought there was no need for the halters and untied them hence they escaped. From my short encounter with them I would tie every leg together and still use the halter. These two species are very similar – the goat and the official – and I hope our children never come home with either!

By the time you read this we will have been to Kelso ram sales and hopefully will have returned with a few Leicester tups that will hopefully have the stamina and power of the above goats, but without the smell.

A full day was spent recently doing our annual Farm Assured British Beef and Lamb and organic inspection. This isn’t for the faint-hearted and it’s my worst day of the year. The inspector was great, but there is always the potential for errors.

There seems to be no bargains in the breeding sheep sector this year, so I’m relieved to be selling not buying. Store lambs are also a great trade hence we will be selling some store lambs this year and not buying.

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