Farmer Focus Livestock: Lambing going well, says Charles Armstrong

Lambing is going well and plenty of grass means plenty of milk and fit ewes. Nothing to complain about apart from cold winds, certain breeds of ewes hanging lambs, and having to pay £18 for every dead ewe, as our incinerator is broken.

On a school visit the children saw what adoption looks like in the sheep world. Then the teacher was panicking about a sheep about to give birth only to be told it had prolapsed. The children wondered why the shepherd was putting a blue seat belt on her. We also hosted a farm walk meeting lots of intelligent people from all over England.

More rain would do everything a lot of good; our beet is struggling at the two-leaf stage and the weeds are nearly at the 22-leaf stage. Spring-sown cereals are terrible. I hope the neighbours will think it’s set-aside. Potatoes are all planted, but one field was taking 22 minutes from end to end with the bed tiller and we had to do it twice.

Ten days with a digger and jetter going around the farm has repaired a lot of burst drains and removed lots of yellow oka, which is a big problem here. We have also been building a new calf shed for bull calves, repairing stone walls that fell down in the winter and laying concrete.

Eighty store cattle went to Carlisle mart and were met with a good trade. In the following two weeks 160 went to Hexham, and also met a good trade. The auctioneer got kicked by a heifer, but he escaped with a few cuts to his face and shoulders.

We have tried to start using EID sheep tags, but I will save that story for June once Jane, myself and everyone else has calmed down.

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