Livestock Farmer Focus: John Bainbridge is finding the dry conditons tough

The recent heat wave has been most welcome but from a farming perspective has come a bit too soon – these dry conditions have meant most of our fertiliser is still inside rather than encouraging grass growth on our meadows.

It looks as if silage and hay are certainly going to be made late in this part of the country.

Last week I purchased six heifers with calves as replacements – two of which I got from friends at the top of Swaledale. I couldn’t help but notice the land was more in line with August after a dry summer rather than late May.

Keeping livestock going this spring has been expensive. The HFA payment has been fully justified, so with its demise how many of us will continue to keep the expensive suckler cow on the hill?

After vaccinating our ewes against bluetongue for the last two years, I am deliberating whether to do all the ewes this time round. The extra work and cost felt unnecessary as bluetongue has been somewhat illusive. Nevertheless, I may just do the younger stock as an insurance policy and then see what develops.

Fortunately, being a little disorganised, I didn’t order any EID slaughter tags that were deemed necessary for fat lambs. It now seems, according to rumour, that I won’t be needing any. Somebody somewhere has realised that non-EID tags are sufficient for lambs going straight to slaughter.

Our 70 pet lambs are doing well, especially the Texel-cross lambs – most of which have been weaned from milk at six weeks. Unlike last year, expensive leakages from the milk machine have been few and far between.

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