Farmer Focus Livestock: Scan results disappoint Bryan Griffiths

A reasonable, overall scanning of 185% was marred by a flock of 65 Texel x Mule shearlings carrying a pitiful 155%. I am reluctant to dismiss them as an unprolific breed, since the same sheep scanned 137% as hogs last year. I suspect their success in rearing a good crop through a miserable summer affected their performance this year.

Valentine’s Day saw the usual treat for the ladies, with the inclusion of 0.2kg of cake a day into their diet. This will be gradually increased over the next five weeks until lambing. Our preferred method of feeding concentrates is to fill troughs on the yard then let out groups of up to 100. This allows any ailing sheep to be easily identified.

Occasionally a ewe will stumble in the gateway causing a minor pile up, but I don’t believe this has ever led to loss of lambs. Those on roots will not receive supplementary feed for a while yet.

Much has been said in the press recently about the merits of forage crops and out wintering, but it is not without its downsides. There are clear savings in cake and bedding, but heavy rain (or thawing snow) can turn the site into a quagmire.

The field was ploughed last August and, assuming I reseed it after lambing, will not provide grazing again until early summer. I have considered various ways of growing a useful crop while the grass is re-establishing, but ruled out whole-crop/arable silage on the grounds our big bales would be too vulnerable to vermin.

See more