Lambing doesn’t go to plan for Jolyon Higgs

On Gower, an outbreak of barley yellow dwarf virus has left the winter barley looking disappointing. Extra nitrogen and a dressing of trace elements have been applied to help the struggling plants. We believe aphids introduced the virus before the first autumn aphicide was applied.

Lambing at Cwmfron did not go to plan – lamb losses were too high. Scanning results turned out to be less than accurate and we therefore had ewes that had an extra lamb for which they had not been fed so, instead of healthy twins, we were having weak triplets or even weaker quads.

The weather turned from warm and dry to cold and wet just as we were getting busy. One morning we had as much snow in the sheds as there was outside. On another day I had two ewes on the operating table having caesareans simultaneously. The end result was five live lambs.

The tireless work of our contractor, Wynne, and helpers – both family and friends – saw us through and Alex and I are grateful to them all. A younger assistant took time out to climb a tree, fell out and peeled the skin off his arm to such an extent that he had to undergo a general anaesthetic for the surgeons to sew him up.

One frosty morning on the hill feeding the Welsh singles I heard the cry of the curlew and looked up to see three of them heading for Plynlimon. It was a magical moment among all the turmoil of lambing.

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