Farmer Focus: Rain has kept beet in the field

We have just under two weeks until lambing kicks off.

Scanning confirmed a lower-than-average rate, so we cannot justify any avoidable lamb losses this year.

We have put this down to the fact it rained non-stop for five weeks as soon as the tups went out, and we have a higher number of ewe lambs and yearlings in the flock this year.

This will be our first year taking on vet students from a local university. They are due to arrive at the end of March for two weeks to assist with lambing the first flock.

See also: 9 flock management tips to combat the wet spring

I’m sure the extra pairs of hands will come in useful, particularly if the weather doesn’t play ball and we are forced to lamb some of the ewes indoors.  

Even though the rain has subsided ever so slightly, ground conditions still aren’t dry enough to travel over to lift the remainder of the fodder beet crop, which means beet has had to be eliminated from the cattle ration over the past six weeks.

The grass silage pit is emptying rather quickly, so we are crossing our fingers that the spring grass shows face soon.

The beef cows have been scanned with good results and are due to start calving in April. They have now swapped from a basic ration to better-quality silage with liquid feed poured on top.

I don’t know what it is, but I find there is something so therapeutic about the cows. I’m looking forward to the summer and seeing them out with the sun on their backs.

We have had a bit of good news recently, which will enable us to consolidate the business in readiness for the spring.

We have been fortunate to have the opportunity of some land very local to us, so our time can be used far more efficiently. We have also given up some ground 20 miles away. There will be some fresh, clean ground to turn the ewes and lambs out onto.

Success doesn’t come by luck; it comes from hard work, persistent efforts, sacrifice and, most of all, a love of what you do.


Read more about Monmouthshire livestock farmer Livy Braid