Farmer Focus: All efforts to get lambs on the ground

All the commercial sheep came home for scanning after Christmas. The cover crops had finished, and the ground conditions were awful.

Fortunately, we had moved the ewes as soon as they finished each field. Avoiding too much stress resulted in a really good scan at 212%.

With loads of triplets, the emphasis is now on getting the nutrition correct. The good grass silage and maize seem to be driving intake.

A 50g a head inclusion of high-protein soya for the triplets will hopefully maintain body condition.

Only 2% were empty after 34 days with the rams across the age profile, so it looks like the preventative vaccines, body condition scoring and lameness protocols have worked.

See also: Tight numbers force lambs up £15 a head

The pedigree ewes have had all preparations ready to start lambing on 1 February – vaccine, bolus, tidy-up and foot-bath. Hopefully, with some pens erected, I might be ready for them.

As I take eight weeks’ annual holiday for lambing, all my foot-trimming customers want to get slightly ahead with routine trims, so January is full, leaving little time for any extra work here.

Anoestrus seems to be a problem this year. Half the cows are not bulling, and we’ve had to get the vet in because it was nothing obvious. This is expensive to sort and has made our block calving pattern slip.  

Our muscle scanning day with the colleges has had to be cancelled. Perhaps a visit in the early summer, discussing our rotational grazing, might be possible.  

Last month’s article brought a bit of feedback, with the optimists, pessimists and realists all contributing. I still feel the realist’s viewpoint is the path to follow.

My panic selling of some lambs before Christmas still gave an okay price. There are fewer sheep in the sheds and the remaining lambs should pull the average up a bit. 

The EU deal gives sheep farmers an incentive to get as many new lambs on the ground for this summer as possible.

We have just been notified of a remote Farm Assured British Beef and Lamb (FABBL) inspection. Although the farm is clean and tidy, I always get nervous about the paperwork, making sure all the boxes are ticked.

James and Belinda Kimber farm 850 commercial and pedigree sheep and 30 pedigree Simmental and Charolais cattle in Wiltshire across 95ha (45ha owned) with the help of their children, Josh, Izzy and Richard. James also runs a foot-trimming business and Belinda has a B&B.