Farmer Focus: Post-scanning feeding under way

Skiing holidays are overrated.

It turns out ice is harder than I am and I have injured my shoulder.

Apart from that, it was a good getaway with great friends and a good mental break for this commencing year.

See also: Read more from our Livestock Farmer Focus writers

Since we have been back we have been relying on help from friends to get as much done as we have on the fencing front. We really appreciate all their help.

I’m picking up my Dad in a few days from the airport, he’s coming over from New Zealand for six weeks.

I will be grateful for his help, as after my injury lifting anything above shoulder height impossible although I’m slowly on the mend.

Lower scanning

Scanning went alright. We are back a little on what we had last year, but Pip is happy as there are not as many trebles and quads to contend with. 

Hopefully, the weaning percentage should be just as good as last year and probably more cost effective.

The sheep have been drafted into their scanning groups with the twins strip grazing fodder beet in situ. 

The singles are getting fed silage on brassica stubble and the triplets and a few quads are grazing the better grass on the farm and soon will be getting chopped fodder beet to help with energy levels.

We don’t corn our ewes. We just provide energy buckets to triplets and quads and five-year-old ewes.

Excited about deer

We now have all breeding hinds on (178 in total) and expected to bring on the youngstock in the next week or two, leaving us just shy of the 300 mark. 

They are settling in really well and it’s a pleasure to see them on the farm, more so when the sun is shining. We are excited about the future of the deer industry.

My younger brother Rowland was so impressed with my nine-hour shearing world record last summer.

The team that helped and the amount of support we received in the UK he has been inspired to attempt the eight-hour full wool ewe record. 

The whole team is excited and keen to do it again the only two people changing places will be him and me. The record for eight hours stands at 603 sheep.

Matt and Pip Smith run 1,085 breeding Romneys and Romney-cross Lleyn ewes across 121ha. Matt is also a shearing contractor and train sheepdogs.