Farmer Focus: Selecting rams based on figures is daunting

What a difference a week makes. Last week we were at risk of a serious shortage of grass, and this week we have contemplated bringing some of the store cattle indoors as they have started to make a mess outside.

We are usually forced to bring the cattle in by the end of September anyway due to our soil type, but August seems a little premature.

The rain has certainly helped alter the grass and crops though.

See also: Store lambs strong but likely to ease

Our annual holiday this year consisted of a fish and chip dinner break on the beach on our way home from an expensive trip to Aberystwyth after purchasing tups for the forthcoming season.

The last few years we have used Aberfields to produce ewe lambs for sale and for our own replacements, but now we have moved away from the Romney ewes, we have opted for some Abermax (more terminal) tups to produce a higher-quality meat carcass.

Last year we also tried out a couple of Aberblack tups (Suffolk-based) for the first time and we were really impressed with their performance and lamb growth rates, so will continue to use these alongside the new purchases.

We have selected tups this year based solely on their figures as opposed to appearance and conformation, which can be a little daunting, but already we are looking forward to seeing how the lambs perform next year in comparison.

The long hours of the spring and the challenging summer conditions have started to become a distant memory now as stock is starting to leave the farm regularly.

This time of year is enjoyable when you have weekly loads of either cull ewes, fat lambs, pigs or store cattle vacating the farm.

The store cattle in particular are somewhat satisfying to wave goodbye to as they are usually on farm for twelve months and leave in substantial batches which really does take pressure off the workload and fodder.

Talking of fodder, works have commenced on erecting a roof over last year’s new silage pit.

This will come as a godsend to us particularly if this wet weather persists. I am just hoping the team crack on and complete the works before the forager arrives to cut the maize.


Read more about Monmouthshire livestock farmer Livy Braid