Farmer Focus: Wetter winters mean housing more sheep

It feels like not an awful lot has changed since my previous article. The monotonous tasks of winter feeding and bedding seems to consume most of the daily routine here, as they do with most other farmers, I’m sure. 

The second lot of Blue heifers arrived just after Christmas and I’m pleased with how they are growing.

The cows have all been scanned and any barren have either been sold or are in the fattening pen ready to go. Overall, we were pleased with how both herds scanned.

See also: How a beef finisher keeps winter feed costs at 48p/day

Jim, the new Luing bull, proved to have covered the Luing cows adequately, which is always a relief when introducing a new chap to the herd, and we look forward to seeing his progeny this spring.

On the topic of scanning, we have had a better year than last with the ewes.

The remaining Blackies are due to be scanned this week as I write. All we need now is some sunshine to help dry the ground out.

It is difficult to remember that last March we were lambing in shorts and T-shirts – a very welcome thought right now.

I think every year since we took on the tenancy at home, the winters have got progressively wetter. These may be global warming effects that we might have to get accustomed to.

We’ve had to house the triplets and as many twins as possible due to the wet conditions. We’d rather take a hit on shed space and straw than see the new leys reseeded last season be ruined.

No doubt the remaining March lambers will have to come in soon, if this wet weather continues and we can find enough concrete.

Our whole herd TB test is due next week. Fingers crossed for a clear result so we can shift 50 head of cattle the same day to slacken the shed space and bring more ewes indoors.

Josh is pleased with last year’s straw chopper purchase and has noticed how much it is saving in straw and labour.

It’s a practical piece of on-farm kit, particularly with the expense that bought-in straw is still posing. Decreasing input costs somewhere in the business is always a positive.

Read more about Monmouthshire livestock farmer Livy Braid