Farmer Focus: Our grass situation is pretty desperate

How things can change within four weeks. When writing my last article, we were shutting off additional fields in order to cut excess grass.

Luckily for us, we cut all that we needed, although we now have acres upon acres of what resembles a desert. As the farm is south-facing and has shallow, free-draining soil, it is extremely dry.

We have not seen any rain since my last article, although some neighbouring areas have seen showers at times.

The grass situation is pretty desperate now. We have weaned a week early in order to preserve all pasture for the lambs.

See also: Good grazing management can cut costs

All ewes have been turned up the hill and will forage on dry roughage. The lambs have been turned down the meadow, where there is ample cover of old leys.

This is usually reserved for the suckler herd, but they are now having to follow and clean up behind, something I’m sure they won’t be too thrilled about.

Due to other commitments we have taken a more relaxed approach to grazing this season, and find ourselves assessing covers by eye rather than taking weekly measurements. Time constraints and staffing have been the main reasons for the decision.

With margins wafer thin and constantly being squeezed further, it is no longer viable to have a full-time shepherd.

We have to make do with certain days within the week that are full with essential husbandry work and recordings. All silaging and field work is given to a local contractor.

It’s still BBQ season, although spending patterns are changing at the shop. People tend to buy smaller portions and buy more chicken, with marinated kebabs very popular.

The summer can traditionally be a quieter period for independents, with customer’s routines changing due to the school holidays.

The quieter period in the shop will hopefully allow me to have a couple of days with the family at the Royal Welsh Show. It’s something of a tradition that we go every year and take in all that the show has to offer.

It’s a great time to meet with friends, socialise, network and find out what is in store for Welsh agriculture over the next 12 months.