Farmer Focus: Shearing season gets under way

It doesn’t seem that long ago I was writing my last article, but thinking back over the past month about what has been happening on the farm we’ve had a lot to keep us busy.

The shearing season is under way again, almost a month earlier than last year. Ewes have been shearing well so far and body conditions are significantly better. If anything, the danger could be ewes gaining too much condition before tupping.

Our swedes have been direct drilled into a sprayed off grass ley at 1kg/acre, along with being top-dressed with 60kg/acre of 7.5% nitrogen fertiliser. They normally receive a coating of slurry within the first five days of sowing, but the weather and ground conditions didn’t allow for that this year.

With the good grass coverage across the farm this year we also decided to reseed some of our more marginal ground. For the first time we have sown a plantain and white clover mix, again into sprayed-off permanent pasture at 4kg/acre.

After seeing the way they have been using plantain for lamb finishing and grazing at lambing on my trip to New Zealand last year, we decided that it could be a good alternative to a regular grass ley.

It will also help increase the kilogrammes a hectare of dry matter we can grow on the farm to increase stocking levels. With its high mineral content, lower worm burden and history of providing excellent weight gain, I’m hoping it will prove to be a success here.

Earlier this month I was lucky enough to have the chance to appear on Ffermio. It did require me to brush up on my Welsh speaking skills, which haven’t had much use in recent years. For readers not living in Wales, Ffermio is a well-known, and very industry focused, TV programme.

For those looking for a relevant agricultural programme, promoting the high standards and demonstrating the challenges facing farming today that other mainstream programmes are reluctant to show, I’d urge them to tune into S4C on a Monday night.

Tom Jones lives on a 200ha upland beef and sheep farm. He also has a contract shepherding business looking after ewes locally

Catch up with all previous reports here.


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