Farmer Focus: Strong prices put focus on lamb rearing rates

Hello, spring! We have been so fortunate with the weather during lambing to date.

Doesn’t a bit of sunshine alter our own mindsets too, even if just a little?

The grass has been slow to get going this year. The ground was finally dry enough last weekend for the tractor and spinner to travel over and get the first application of fertiliser on the grass leys.

See also: Advice on tackling scour during lambing and calving

We really need the grass to get away now for the ewes and new-season lambs.

Most of last year’s calves were sold last week and we have some more store cattle leaving this week, which will free up grass for the cows.

We have just about come to the end of lambing the indoor ewes and, overall, we are happy with how it has gone this year. You will always get the odd prolapse, but we are pleased with the lambing percentage to date.

I think the current lamb price makes you try even harder and do whatever you can to keep every single lamb alive. Each lamb counts.

I am not sure if it has been a coincidence or not, but I have noticed a real difference between the Aberblack and the Aberfield lambs at birth this year. The Aberblack lambs are far sharper and more alert – initially, anyway.

Even in the pet lamb pen, they are always the ones wanting to take the bottle straight away with minimal intervention.

Coincidence or not, this is definitely what we want. It will be good to see how they compare moving forward and, hopefully, we will see a difference again with their finishing rates this year.

The ewe hoggs have just started lambing outside alongside the Scottish Blackfaces. The Blackies are producing some pretty Mule ewe lambs which we will ultimately look to replace the ewe flock with.

All too often, the ones I have my eyes on turn out to be wethers, so I won’t look too hard until we get them in for their routine vaccinations and drench.


Read more about Monmouthshire livestock farmer Livy Braid