Farmer Focus: Another enterprise could help grass control

As per normal at this time of year we have lost control of grass growth. It is one of the biggest challenges at this time, but this year it is more prolific. 

We normally have too much grass in June and July and too little from November through to May. The challenge is to maintain quality during June and July. 

More mouths would be the answer, but that is not practical for only two months of the year. Rotational grazing just exacerbates the problem, as it leads to even more grass. Another enterprise is needed – watch this space!

See also: More from all the Livestock Farmer Focus writers

We got all the sheep clipped in four days while dodging showers. However, there is no break in the jobs still to do. 

We are busy topping fields where the stewardship allows. Lambs are being bolused and vaccinated against clostridial disease. 

We are doing faecal egg counts and where necessary lambs, are being wormed.

Heifers and cows are out in their bulling groups. Frustratingly we have had two bulls go lame at the crucial moment, which has meant an emergency purchase of another bull. 

They all appear to be doing their job. I am hopeful the feet will recover.

We had a very brief trip down to Essex to a wedding last weekend. As we travelled the length of the country it was fascinating to see that the North was on a par with the South in how much had been gathered in.

I thought I’d finish this month’s piece with a short glossary of some of our local terms, as it has come to my attention that some of the terms we use might get misinterpreted.

Tup = ram, yow = ewe, dagging/cowing = crutching, hogg = teg/shearling, gimmer = theave, Yorkshire fog = perennial grass (unpalatable to most livestock),  fog = silage aftermath, spane = wean and finally clarts = mud; which we seem to have in abundance for seven months of the year.

Simon Bainbridge farm a 650ha upland organic farm with 160 suckler cows, 1,500 breeding ewes and 12,000 organic laying hens with his wife, Claire and his parents. Healthy, maternal livestock and quality feed is a priority.