Farmer Focus Livestock: William Slinger is supplement feeding his ewes

The spells of drier weather and declining levels of snow over the past month have been better for ewes. We have been feeding them molasses for a longer period this year, which has been a good thing and as silage is being used up at a good rate, we should see winter through without difficulty.

More straw has been used this year than last, in part due to the lack of sawdust earlier in the autumn. I have had more enquiries about straw choppers and the availability of sawdust, after I mentioned it in my last article, than any other subject I’ve written about. It seems we are not alone in looking for bedding and at least we bought our straw chopper in time to qualify for a free 2009 calendar from Mr Cornthwaite.

Early in the New Year finished lamb prices jumped considerably. It seems no one saw this improvement coming, as the last store lamb sales before Christmas valued a lot of lambs at just over half the price they are now making.

It is noticeable just how many smaller lambs are passing through the markets. Those being sold in the 30-35kg bracket may yet pay to feed, but it’s clear lambs are not about in any great numbers.

It was good to read Sir Anthony Bamford’s letter urging more action from the UK government over agriculture. He clearly highlighted the value farming has, particularly when many people are quick to switch off when they hear farmers making the same case. It is welcome to hear this point being echoed by another farmer, particularly when he also happens to be chairman of a flagship British brand leader like JCB.

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