I always manage to have my sheep dotted about the county when the snow comes. Even though we have a small depth of snow in this part of the world, the sheep can easily scratch down to the grass.
Both the ewes and the ewe lambs are absolutely ravenous for haylage. The ewes seem to be going through their mineral buckets like sweets, which tells you something. As soon as the scanner has been I will start them on light ration of cake. Light nights and lambing time cannot come soon enough to get us out of the depressing winter we are having. However, the threat of Schmallenberg is ever greater, with some farming friends reporting cases less than 10 miles away. I think every farmer should have a hobby to take his mind off these headaches, whether it is shooting, fishing or golf. You have to be able to switch off.
My mother has managed to contract “bordercollie-itis” and wants to start sheepdog trialling. Because of the bad summer and Tom taking all my time, I sent one of my young dogs, Mirk, to my good pal and professional trainer Graham Blythe to be trained. Graham has done a top job of training him; so I thought Mirk would be an ideal Christmas present for mother.
She will do well at trialling and running a dog as she has much experience with horses, and being a retired schoolteacher, she definitely knows how to be bossy.
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.