Farmer Focus Livestock: Year flies by for Bill Metcalf

How the year seems to fly by. Once again we are turning towards autumn gimmer sales and sales of prime lambs.

Our lower down buyers of breeding stock are having to fight the weather once again with harvest and prices. And the dairy sector, which for a brief moment earlier on seemed to have improved, is again facing price challenges.

Although cull ewes and prime lambs have been at more sustainable levels, the general profitability in farming seems to have once again seen a false dawn. We await the early sales of breeding stock with interest.

Lambs have all had their two doses of colostridial vaccines and the gimmer lambs will soon have their bluetongue jabs, which their prospective buyers will probably need if entering flocks where vaccination has already taken place, especially if going down country.

With so many flocks of hill ewes having been reduced to such an extent, we wonder once again whether to have a system with more of our own North of England Mule gimmers rearing prime lambs, rather than keeping so many Swaledales breeding Mules. Despite better returns you have to wonder about the implications of the quickly reducing total breeding flock. Possibly good in the short term, but that seems to be as far as the people in charge can see with EID and other things.

With luck, the Western Terrace at Headingley will have celebrated the performance of the England team as we move towards regaining The Ashes once more. If not, then no mention will come that I was there.

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