Farmer Focus: Preparing for eight-hour shearing record

Fawning is nearing the end. It has definitely been a learning curve but we are enjoying the experience and understanding more all the time. To our son Dusty’s delight, we have two pet deer calves’ – well one pet and one wild one.

My brother Rowland’s attempt for the eight-hour ewe world record is just around the corner and preparations are all under way.

Nearly all the ewes have been weaned in good time which gives them time to shrink their udders back down to size and also start to put on a bit more condition, which will hopefully make the day easier.

See also: Read more from our Livestock Farmer Focus writers 

Our home is full of family and friends, which is neat. 

Pip and I are looking forward to welcoming everyone to our farm on the 24 July and supporting Rowly and hopefully helping him to succeed.

We hope the day is as well supported as my nine-hour record was, as the money donated on the gate will be going to the local children’s hospice.

See also: Q&A with new nine-hour strongwool shearing record holder

Feed trial

As I finish writing this today, we have just finished hosting a field day put on by Germinal and AHDB.

As well as presenting the data on the lamb trials experts talked about the benefits of reseeding.

There were also demonstrations on soil structure and reseeding.

It was very well attended with about 230 to 250 people so all the organisers were pleased with that and I think most of the people managed to take something away from it as well; if nothing else at least they all got a free pasty.


The Germinal and AHDB trial has been a very interesting. We had the first of the weights taken from all the lambs as we weaned them with now only the male lambs staying on the trial pastures.

All our ewe lambs have gone on fresh grass seed.

Meanwhile, we will continue to monitor the ram lamb’s growth rates as well as worm burden and carcass yield. 

So far, the early results are pretty clear cut, with lambs on the new leys achieving much higher daily liveweight gains, but it will be very interesting following it through and comparing the costs versus the returns.

Matt and Pip Smith run 400 deer, 1,085 breeding Romneys and Romney-cross Lleyn ewes across 121ha. Matt is also a shearing contractor and trains sheepdogs