Farmer Focus Livestock: Cold weather stops fertiliser spreading for Alistair Mackintosh

The Gulf Stream seems to have deserted us over the past few weeks. It’s been cold with the odd dusting of snow, which means there’s no sign of grass growth or buds on trees.

It looks like the fertiliser spreader will have to stay in the back of the shed for a while longer.

However, conditions have been good enough to allow us to plough some land in readiness for spring crops.

Ewes have all had their pre-lambing clostridial vaccine and I must say they are looking well on a diet of sugar beet and silage. We will be feeding an 18% ewe roll in the next weeks to ewes with multiple lambs. They will also have free access to mineral buckets that will deliver anti-coccidiants.

Cows have had a rotavirus injection to deliver immunity to their newborn calves. We have weaned some of last year’s late calvers, and the calves have been put into the finishing shed. We had problems weaning this batch; they broke out through the night and one of them got under the slats and ended up in the slurry.

Although it presented us a challenge, it was retrieved safely. However, no matter how many times I was hosed down and bathed, it took sometime until my natural body odour returned to normal. It was an experience that won’t be repeated, as lockable steel covers have replaced sleepers covering the inspection pit.

Although most of the farm is covered by an ESA agreement, some recently purchased land has no environmental agreement at all. I’m therefore evaluating the possibility of putting all the land into an HLS. If the sums add up, when I eventually get my maps back, I shall apply for an HLS application pack. Mapping delays are costly, let’s hope the delays don’t affect next years Single Farm Payment as well.

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