FARMER FOCUS: Why stewardship strips?

My condolences go to fellow farmers who have lost stock in the snow, writes James Read.

As I write this – with the whole of the British Isles’ farm animals struggling for their next blade of grass – there are arable units close to our farm that have stewardship strips that would feed stock for weeks. Although I am a big believer in conservation, this country will go hungry before it realises what it’s doing to itself.

I’ll jump off my soapbox now. Lambing has gone well, apart from a high percentage of triplets. This situation would have been hard work without the use of an automatic milk feeder, which has kindly been lent to us by a good friend Mr John Palmer. John is a well-respected sheep breeder and successful sheepdog handler, and will quite rightly be awarded the Wilkinson Sword at this year’s International for his services to sheepdogs. Congratulations, John.

There is never a good time to receive a nuisance call, especially when you are tending to a problem in a lambing pen. The other day the phone rang – it was a gentleman called Dave from the other side of the world wanting me to swap my mobile phone contract. As there was a lamb bleating its head off for its colostrum in the next-door pen, I passed the phone over to the lamb so Dave could share his sales pitch with it. I noticed Dave was a full one minute and forty seconds before he realised he had another species on the other end.

James Read farms in partnership with his father, in Louth, Lincolnshire. They farm 400ha of mainly arable land, run 200 breeding sheep and a pack of working/trialling sheepdogs

More on this topic

More articles from James Read

Read more from our other livestock farmer focus writers

See more