Farmer Focus Livestock: William Slinger’s sheep clipping on hold

Despite a good start to the summer, the past few months have been disappointing, enforcing a delay in the completion of clipping sheep.

But by getting enough sheep to clip in the day inside and undercover early in the mornings, we were eventually able to complete the task over a few days. On both days it rained enough to have halted the job and if we wouldn’t have clipped inside we could still be waiting to finish clipping.

A dry spell in early August gave us the chance to cut some second-crop silage, a week or two earlier than usual. A good effort from everyone meant we were able to get it in and all sheeted up in the day. This was just as well, as the promised several days of sunny weather never materialised.

An effective campaign waged against the moles earlier in the year has paid dividends, with only one or two problems encountered. What is noticeable at the moment is the rampant spread of ragwort across the countryside. This has been a looming problem for some years and is particularly prevalent along the roadsides, spreading with alarming speed. It is one of the five injurious weeds specified in the Weed Act of 1959 and the Ragwort Control Act, which came into force in February 2004.

Thankfully, the local council are taking steps to remove it from roadsides and are to be commended for their action. But the problem cannot be treated in isolation and requires concerted efforts from all parties. A stitch in time will certainly save more costly trouble later.

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