Farmer Focus: Weather is making lambing hard work again

It has taken a few days to write this article, as it’s hard not to be negative with the continuing ridiculous conditions.

We have not yet flooded. All the money spent on ditching since the last flood has kept the water moving.  

We are quite good at electric fencing and didn’t need the extra practice we’ve had this winter.

Every field we have left brown has quickly turned green with the wet and warm conditions. 

See also: Tips on record-keeping at lambing

The stray sheep we had in with the store lambs had scab, so we had to dip them, which has a 49-day withdrawal period.

This means we’ve been left merely observing the high prices without being able to participate.

Now they are trying to talk the market down due to the coronavirus in China, which is reducing demand.

You couldn’t make it up – I can’t remember smashing any mirrors.

Our youngest asked why I keep an old loader tractor to load silage and straw. We do it because it doesn’t cost us a penny, I explained.

This turned out to be a bit premature, as replacing a clutch, water pump, shuttle box cylinder and an alternator in two weeks rather adds up.

Belinda and I put a lot of effort into keeping lambs alive, so we have made the easy decision not to turn out yet. However, this has resulted in having to squash everything up a bit.

The cows and calves are in together, and the January lambers are in a cow pen, allowing the solar shed to be cleaned out, ready for the March lambers.

We had the students from Cirencester and Lackham on farm for a day, with ultrasound scanner Jim Barber and Charolais breeder Ben Harman giving a talk on Breedplan.

This is always an informative day, with similar heifers giving different muscle and fat scores and a plain heifer scanning the same as a thick, shapely one.

It just shows you cannot judge by eye alone. The use of figures is an excellent addition to the selection process.

Hopefully, the students will be able to use this factual experience to judge for themselves if they need to. 

By next month, the sun will hopefully be shining and the lambs will be gambolling in deep grass.

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.