Farmer Focus: Tidied round but farm visits are cancelled

As I write this the children have started lambing their Blue Texels again.

Unfortunately, a sub-fertile new ram left half their flock empty at scanning. Rather than running empty some later lambs will be a bonus.  

Sadly, we have lost too many lambs with pneumonia and ewes with mastitis.

See also: Tips on tackling mastitis in sheep

The fantastic weather has had its drawbacks – largely the temperature difference between hot sun and frost. A high of 28C was recorded in one field while dosing lambs for nematodirus and that night the temperature dropped to -2C.

With all the sheep out at the beginning of April, all the sheds have been cleaned and manure spread on some maize ground – a first for us.

All the pens, buckets, bowls etc have been washed and dried. We were ready for a couple of farm visits that are now not going to happen.

The bulls have prepped up really well and are all behaving on the halter. All the work with the females over the years has rewarded us with cattle with lovely temperaments. 

We don’t overfeed them, which means their feet and legs are good. On my foot-trimming round, I see a lot of young bulls that have been overdone, which is wrecking their feet.  

No feet, no bull – it really is that simple. 

All the lambs have had their second clostridial vaccine, so hopefully this will help to build their immunity going forward.

We put a preventative fly spray on all the ewes and rams. I haven’t got time to deal with flystrike and it’s not acceptable for our image. 

The last hoggets and first January lambs sold well after a few weeks of market disruption. We didn’t sell any last week due to another blip in prices, with more poor excuses from the processors.  

British meat is selling on shop shelves. It might not all be fillet steak, but to ensure British farmers are still producing in five years a fair distribution of revenue is still essential. 

We have had lots of walkers at the farm. Hopefully, they will really start appreciating what a beautiful place we live in and that it’s mostly created by farmers.

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.