Farmer Focus Livestock: Workshops are worthwhile for Jolyon Higgs

Rain combined with warm temperatures and a little too much grass has resulted in a flare up of scald in the sheep’s feet. It’s not helped by the handling system being in action every day and, despite regular disinfection, disease build up is inevitable.

A recent afternoon of “workshops” organised by Livestock Marketing focused on three topics: Soil, grasses and EBVs. The soil lecture gave a good run through of all factors affecting crop growth from compaction through to Ph and P and K levels. Next day we were mole ploughing the silage ground and ordering a supply of soil sample bags. I thought the idea of three 45mins talks on topical subjects worked well.

Our youngest son Tom has just completed his HND at Harper Adams University College, passing with merit. I think he thoroughly enjoyed his time there, learnt a lot and met many friends from all over the UK. His course contained a sandwich year working in industry, which gave meaning and relevance to all the academic work.

Thistles are now ready for felling – yes they are huge. We have had an invasion of black caterpillars that are stripping them of their leaves, possibly a legacy from the Painted Lady butterflies that visited earlier in the year. We will leave an infested patch standing as long as possible in the hope of encouraging this useful predator.

In Gower the standing straw sale saw an easier trade topping at £98/acre for wheat straw, but the average was down from £82 to £74/acre. Spring calves have all been wormed and the bulls have hopefully done their work. Crows on the barley have been troublesome recently and much time and effort is being spent on damage limitation.

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