FARMER FOCUS: Quad bike versus sheepdog?

After a month of begging and pleading with the scanner man the ewes have finally been scanned. The results though might be suspect as we are probably more than two weeks late. The scan shows 217% more triplets than last year, which takes some believing considering the winter the ewes have endured, writes James Read.

As the sun shone this week we threw a bag of fertiliser on the OSR, second wheats and grass.

Last year, I received a phone call from a young farmer called Tom, who wanted me to give him a few lessons in training his sheepdog. Putting myself forward as a tutor made me a bit apprehensive, but Tom has done really well with his dog, Tess, and has listened to every word I’ve told him.

This led to him ringing me the other day, mid-celebrations, after he had penned his sheep for the first time. I don’t know who was prouder, Tom or myself.

It is satisfying to say that I have passed on a bit of knowledge to a young lad that helps keep the sheepdog alive and well in farming today.

I was listening to a debate on Radio 2 the other week on the quad bike versus the sheepdog.

To me, there is no versus as many farmers, I’m sure, would agree they should be worked in tandem. A well-trained dog can be perfectly placed off the back of a quad bike to shed a ewe and her lambs away from the rest of the flock. I definitely need them both in my armour.

James Read farms at Louth on the edge of the Lincolnshire Wolds in partnership with his father. They farm 400ha of mainly arable land and are the main contractors on 700ha. He runs 200 breeding sheep and a pack of working/trialling sheepdogs.

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