Farmer Focus: Housing cattle as wet weather sets in

The farm is very wet, with heavy rain last week followed by snow.

The final set of cows and calves came in at the beginning of December, just before the ground turned to soup.

Calves have been weaned and the cattle are all in the right places, with vaccinations administered for pneumonia and doses given for fluke/worms. The bulls are thriving in their new pens and look very content.

Fat cattle went away today to Dovecote Park – a small group of heifers at 19 months of age. More than 600 fat lambs have gone over the past month. Weights have been good and prices reasonable.

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We have been busy giving some of the ewes a flukicide and the ewe lambs have also received a wormer.

They have been grazing a field that appears to have a heavy worm burden and the lesson has now been learnt not to put the ewe lambs there again.

Claire hosted a visit for 48 children from the local first school. The children and teachers appeared to enjoy it, especially the biosecurity overshoes.

Hens are at 53 weeks old and doing well. The egg numbers are good and shell quality is holding up nicely.

Maintaining litter quality is a priority, as well as good nutrition and feather cover on our fully beaked birds.

Everything looks OK at present, but on our steep learning curve we are very aware that we may have challenges ahead of us.

I would like to wish everyone a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year. There will definitely be challenges next year: the usual fight with the inclement weather, balancing cashflow and now dealing with Brexit.

Simon Bainbridge farms 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.