Farmer Focus: Shearing in Finland ahead of record attempt

I have been over to Finland shearing, as I have done for the past 10 years.

It is tough shearing sheep that have been indoors for so long, but the money I can make is worthwhile for an intense but brief stint.

It is frustrating being away from the farm with so much yet to do, but I look forward to the long days of summer to get on with fencing and draining projects.

On the farm, our lambs are growing away.

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A few weeks ago we had a weekend of docking. We had a group of good friends help; it makes the line very efficient and the camaraderie always seems to be great at docking time. Maybe that’s just testament to how wonderful country people are at helping others. 

The handling equipment was hugely successful and made it really easy to work each paddock in turn – resulting in fewer problems with mustering and mothering up again once the job was done. 

See also: It’s great to share the lambing workload

The lambs were all given a vitamin B12 injection, which will give them three to four months of slow-release vitamin B12.

Pour-on blowfly treatment was also applied around the rear end. They were drenched and given a shot in the neck for clostridial disease.

My dad has come over from New Zealand and will be with us for four months. He is working with my father-in-law Jimmy to run the farm, so I’m pretty happy that while I’m away shearing, preparing for the record, the farm will be in good hands.

The new grass we have sown has struck nicely and is growing well, with quite a bit of last season’s brassica showing up among the planted seed.

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We have disced up another paddock for forage crop and sprayed out one ready to disc and sow, hopefully in the very near future as weather permits.

The paddocks already sown in Winifred, a hybrid brassica, are well away and should be great lamb fattening paddocks after weaning,

The shearing stand for the record attempt is well under way. It has to be built to exact criteria and passed by the judges of the shearing world record committee.

My coach is making sure that my strength and fitness training is on track, plus I am currently finishing a shearing job in Hampshire of 10,000 romney ewes with a good friend, Gareth Daniels.

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