There is currently plenty of grass, and with heavy crops of hay and silage safely stacked away, there should be no shortage of winter fodder.
The last hay fields were somewhat overgrown and difficult to ted out. The baling contractor’s recommendation that we throw our dear old haybob in the nearest quarry has been duly noted. An old pasture has been sprayed off ready to be direct drilled with a catch crop of roots.
We continue to sell lambs on a weekly basis at about 19.5kg deadweight. The progeny of our Texel cross Charollais rams are showing good growth rates and a high percentage of E/U grades. We have ordered two more rams of the same breeding, with similar EBVs. About half of the 120 bottle-reared lambs have now gone, albeit at just 17-18kg. Any attempt to get them heavier has resulted in over-fat problems. We estimate the cost of milk powder plus ad-lib pellets to be £35/£40 per head.
One positive aspect of allowing hogs to rear singles only is that a significant number of their lambs have already gone for slaughter, leaving a well-grown shearling. The first draft of cull ewes has been sold in excess of £100. Pleasing though this is, the prospect of buying replacement shearlings is quite sobering. It could be argued that the more buoyant prices may eventually lead to an increase in sheep numbers; however, in my experience it is far more tempting to keep too many ewes when they are nearly worthless.