Farmer Focus: Still hoping for a decent amount of rain

Do you ever hear yourself saying “yes” when you know that’s the wrong answer? Foot-trimming Dexters should be illegal. 

Are we going to have sheep sale gatherings? We need open transparent trade for our rams and gimmers and I don’t know how the government can say sales are not acceptable when the rest of society seem to get away with anything they want.

The rain hasn’t yet blessed us in any quantity. There has been barely enough to settle the dust while moving sheep. The commercial ewes at the other farm are being moved regularly to get a bite of fresh grass.

Fortunately, the early lambs and cull ewes have now gone, leaving 220 fewer mouths to feed.

See also: Farmer Focus: Tidied round but farm visits are cancelled

Whether we repeat January lambing with the draft ewes is currently being debated. Although they have sold OK they have been more work than expected due to the lack of cover crops. 

The value of reseeding with high-sugar, high-clover leys is even more obvious, and the pedigree ewes and lambs are flying.

Shearing has been completed, with some commercial ewes that weren’t quite ready testing me. Belinda sprayed some lame lambs while the children pushed and fly-sprayed. 

Normally, this would leave us ready for a bit of a social at the Bath and West and Three Counties shows. Whatever your usual social event, it has probably been cancelled.

A few weeks ago was mental health awareness week. The very strange year we are all experiencing could put extra pressure on the rural communities. If you haven’t seen a friend for a while, a chat always helps. 

I had to make a final decision on the manure store as it has to be completed by the end of September.

It is a massive investment at a time when no expenses would be a more sensible approach, but quite simply we had to do it or get out of livestock.

So, a grant-aided shed over the whole manure area, plus our cost of drains, a dirty water tank and the completion of the floor will totally seal that. Then there is the silage pit to do next spring.

James and Belinda Kimber farm 850 commercial and pedigree sheep and 30 pedigree Simmental and Charolais cattle in Wiltshire across 95ha (45ha owned) with the help of their children, Josh, Izzy and Richard. James also runs a foot-trimming business and Belinda has a B&B.