Farmer Focus: Get on great terms with your grassland specialist

Lambing is in full swing. I was disappointed about the increase in the number of ewes that were a bit leaner than I would have liked.

While the ewes were all treated for fluke in the autumn, we did a post-mortem on one and fluke was present again, so all ewes are being fluke and worm drenched as they are turned out. 

Most ewes seem to have enough milk although, like everyone else, we have a real shortage of grass.

The ewes are being turned out onto a reseed that has the most cover on the farm. If ever there was a spring to prove the benefits of having a strict reseeding policy and therefore the benefits of young grass, this is it.

Everyone you talk to complains about the lack of grass and then tells you the only grass they have is in the young grass field.

It always amazes me that so many people feel the most important relationship they have is with their feed rep. This is the person who supplies feed to supplement the main input, which is grass. So, if grass is your main input, why is the most important relationship not with the grassland specialist?

See also: Nine tips for getting a spring reseed right

The grassland has had its first fertiliser, which is 10-26-26 with sulphur, and the first nitrogen dressing will be applied to half of the grazing area within the next few days.

I did enter into “silly season” and have bought quite a few cattle. All cattle on the farm have been weighed, had a cobalt bolus and the new arrivals have been treated for fluke and worms. All are ready to go to grass.

By now, I would normally have had them all at grass, but they are still being fed silage on the kale and fodder beet stubble.

We have had a bit of a redistribution of workload, and Michelle has decided that bringing up our eight kids wasn’t enough work, so she has taken over the running of the shop so that I can focus more on the farm.

It’s lucky I am lambing, because I haven’t had time to see all the changes she has made and then “stick my oar in”.

Michael Shannon finishes 150 head of mostly Angus beef stores each year and runs 280 Scotch Mules on a 100ha forage-only enterprise, as well as free-range turkeys for Christmas, near Biggar, Lanarkshire. Meat is sold through his online business and farm shop Damn Delicious with surpluses sold deadweight.