Farmer Focus: Easier lambing from Cheviot-crosses

Hopefully by the time you read this lambing will be over, bar a few stragglers.

Having had the weather on our side, it’s been an enjoyable time lambing our outdoor flock.

See also: Shear before lambing to improve flock performance

All of our Cheviot ewes were put to either NZ Romney or Lleyn rams this year.

But with very little to test the survivability of the two crosses it hasn’t been the best of years to compare the two breeds, not that I’m complaining about the weather.

Both crosses have given us good strong lambs with plenty of vigour and seemingly good growth in these early stages.

They are also considerably easier lambing than the Aberfields used last year, with lambs that needed assistance very low.

The hoggs have lambed too and are happily grazing the plantain without the need for any additional feed and are growing their lambs well.

Many of our March lambing ewes are grazing the remainder of the swedes alongside the store cattle that we turned out at the beginning of April to help use the remainder of the crop.

Cows have started calving this month alongside heifers that have been AI’d.

Our calving pattern is quite staggered and it’s something we have to address for ease of management, possibly with the help of AI after our first attempt at it has been successful.

Grassland has been harrowed, spraying of nettles and thistles – which seem to be in abundance this year – is under way, slurry has been applied where needed and silage ground has been turned out, earlier than normal thanks to the additional growth.

For the first time we have sown rape/kale hybrid on some rented ground and will hopefully come to provide feed for weaned lambs or ewes requiring additional feed to boost condition.

We have also set aside additional ground for more plantain and white clover after being nothing but impressed with its performance last year.

I was recently delighted to have been invited to sit on NFU Cymru’s Next Generation Policy Forum.

I would like to thank them for this opportunity and hopefully I will be able to contribute to the work they do.

Tom Jones lives on a 200ha upland beef and sheep farm near Lake Vyrnwy, Montgomeryshire. He also has a contract shepherding business looking after ewes locally

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