Farmer Focus livestock: William Slinge on pasture management

William Slinger farms 243ha (600 acres) at Pendleton, Clitheroe, Lancashire. He farms in partnership with his parents and brother, running an 80-cow dairy herd and a 500-ewe flock, finishing all their own lambs

Despite a good lambing, the weather has been a touch on the cold side; we have only been able to turn our dairy cows out during the daytime. No other cattle have been turned out and the sheep and lambs are just about keeping on top of what grass there is without needing any more help at the moment.

The last of last year’s lambs did not disappoint at auction. All in all we have had a good run with them over this past year. It will be interesting to see how well things go later on this year when some of our next lambs are ready.

We did manage to turn out of the meadows a little sooner than last year and there is some hope we might be able to make a good start on silaging when the time comes. The final applications of fertiliser were completed on schedule and we are hoping using a different forage harvester this season will help with the job, too.

Besides getting the fertiliser on when we wanted to, rather than when the weather allowed, we have also managed to get some lime on the fields that were due for some, as it’s important to keep on top of this work, too. It is surprising how much false economy there is when it comes to these slightly longer-term investments.

It has been noticeable this year just how many of those farmers who were busy telling me that fertiliser was far too expensive to put much on last year, had run out of grass by March. They have since spent much more money on buying in extra keep to make up the difference than they saved on fertiliser.

See more