Farmer Focus: Semen quality causes poor deer conception

We have scanned the hinds we had in the AI programme – both the 35 for ourselves and the 40 that were destined for Germany.

It turns out where you get your semen makes a big difference, as our group scanned 71% and the second group only scanned 49%, which is very frustrating as it was only meant to be the pregnant hinds that were to be sent to Germany.

This comes after weaning them earlier than normal and feeding them for optimum condition, only to then use poor-quality semen. Never mind, you live and learn.

On the other hand, we are very happy with the hinds we are keeping. They look really well and we got rid of any with a bad attitude, which is a big focus point for us.

Also, we have invested in some really exciting genetics, mainly for growth rates, but also very respectable antlers.

See also: Video: Deer farming in Latvia – why size matters

The deer keep us excited and motivated as well. All the changes and improvements we’ve tried to make wouldn’t mean anything without seeing the stock get better each year – the only downside is waiting.

On the sheep front, the ewes seem to have gone to the rams well, with only a small handful not coloured in the first cycle. Talking to other farmers it seems like most are happy, although our ewe lambs seem a lot slower than in normal years.

We are finally looking at being able to finish our shearing shed and covered handling facilities, which had been put on hold as summer time gets very busy off farm.

We are looking forward to finishing this – not just to make our lives a lot easier, but also to be able to teach a bit of shearing in a professional environment with good facilities.

Hopefully, we can get all these things tidied up before we start all our new projects. This will be our last column before Christmas, so we would like to wish you all the best – don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.

Read more by Matt Smith and see his biography.