Farmer Focus: Low grass dry matter is our only issue

It feels like winter has arrived, the nights are pulling in and the leaves are rapidly falling off the trees.

On the whole – only being dry stock farming – it’s not all bad as we have no crops to harvest or slurry to get out.

The only gripe is, we would have liked to cut a little bit more silage as we have been feeding some of it to the hinds as they seem to be looking for dry matter over an abundance of fresh grass, which does make sense.

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Low dry matter

The grass is just so watery. I have also been talking to a lot of people who are trying to finish lambs and they are saying the same thing – it’s been a funny old season.

The mixed age ewes seem to be doing really well by default, as after weaning right up until flushing we use them to clean up old pasture and they are looking great.

Rutting commences

Our deer are on the up after they had a fluke drench and mineral boluses and drench. The stags are starting to get into full swing in the rut, roaring away.

We weaned some calves earlier than usual to give the hinds a break after having the liver fluke and endeavour to wean the other calves next time we see a few days of fine weather.

The calves we weaned earlier are going on really well. We are feeding them some concentrates to help with the slightly earlier weaning.

Leave your comfort zone

I honestly can’t believe how much we are enjoying (despite the odd character building moment) going into something we knew so little about.

Whether it be meeting a whole new group of people or just learning what it’s all about, I strongly recommend getting out of your comfort zone – it’s quite refreshing.

I got invited to do a shearing demonstration up in Wales at Pontardawe at the Heart of the Valley Show recently. I have to say it was neat to see a day put on to educate town folk.

It allowed them to interact and get up close to various rural day-to-day skills, such as shearing, a farrier putting shoes on horses, milking cows and working sheep dogs, to name a few. It was well organised and a great atmosphere.

Matt and Pip Smith run deer, 1,085 breeding Romneys and Romney-cross Lleyn ewes across 121ha. Matt is also a shearing contractor and trains sheepdogs.