Farmer Focus: June lambs at £100 can’t be sniffed at

The last of the silaging was all systems go here while the dry spell permitted through the middle of July.

The grass was slow to start this year, but we are pleased with the yield now in the pit, although we never seem to have enough of the green stuff.

We had some soil samples taken recently. We regularly test the soil for the standard phosphate, potassium, magnesium and pH to determine what the ground needs for optimising crop yields.

About the author

Livy Braid
Livestock Farmer Focus writer Livy Braid farms with her husband as first generation tenant farmers in Monmouthshire. They currently lamb 1250 ewes, grow 200 store cattle annually alongside a small herd of suckler cows and will start fattening 2,000 pigs a year. Focus is placed on optimising soil health to support a forage based system. 
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See also: Spring lamb returns lift early shearling trade 25-30%

However, these tests were to ascertain what elements are lacking or in abundance within the ground, and which could be restricting sheep and cattle performance.

Based on the results of these tests, we ordered mineral buckets that were made specifically to suit our ground. It seems a really simple and efficient way of meeting the animals’ needs.

Why buy a bucket with a handful of minerals included when you may already have plenty of them? I will report in due course to see if we notice a difference.

We also purchased a bit of fertiliser this year to help “sweeten” a couple of leys. The product claims to increase sugar and palatability in the grass, so we hope the stock are happier on the fields and properly “graze down”.

Hopefully, these tweaks made in the spring will help maximise meat production further from our grass.

The sheep are enjoying this warmer weather now the wool is off their backs, although the flies are an issue with us again this year.

We managed to get away a couple of hundred lambs before the end of June. This has been the quickest turnaround for us at our home farm.

Most lambs were 12 weeks old when drawn, which hopefully shows us that our work over the past few years to turn the farm around and improve the flock performance is working.

It’s a shame the trade is back a little. However, we can’t grumble at achieving more than £100 for a lamb.

The homebred heifers were artificially inseminated to an easy calving Lim (hopefully) last week. Meanwhile, both stock bulls are out with the cows and enjoying a romantic few weeks.