Ewan Brewis 700ha(1750-
acre) farm is split into two
units. Lempitlaw, the main
420ha (1037-acre) holding
near Kelso, Scottish Borders
and Gattonside Mains with
180ha (455 acres) grass
(LFA). Stocking is 340
sucklers, a 40-cow pedigree
Aberdeen-Angus herd, 20-
cow pedigree Charolais herd,
60 pedigree Suffolk and
960 commercial ewes
I SUPPOSE I am no different to any other farmer – always commenting, never complaining about the weather. The last four weeks has seen dry, mild weather produce some of the most vigorous growth I can ever remember.
Sheep are being turned out into fields where you can hardly see their lambs among the grass. This growth can also be seen in all the arable crops with some of the wheats resembling silage fields.
However, the Lord never allows us to be complacent and true to form, on Apr 2 he delivered a crushing blow: Some storm force winds, lashing rain and temperatures only a few degrees above freezing. In one field alone we lost nearly 40% of the lambs.
Since then we have had 80mm of rain making a total of 97mm since last months report. Consequently, ewes and lambs have been held inside for as long as possible which is very frustrating with as much grass in the fields.
This morning it is snowing and the temperature is 4C (39F) , so there are no real signs of being able to vacate the sheep pens.
This said, the lambing continues on at great pace and the ewes are now down to just a handful left to lamb. My mother informed me that my father always said that ewes lamb quicker when its wet because they are constantly shaking themselves rather than lying in a heap enjoying the sunshine. I dont know whether there is any truth in this?
Calvings have gone well and at Lempitlaw we are left with four Charolais, four Angus and four commercials. So far we have 100% calving. Gattonside continues on at not quite such a pace and a couple of cows and calves have had to be brought back in. We also have the problem of too much grass there but we darent put cows out just to poach it.
We are all preparing for the end of an era as Tommy the shepherd retires on Apr 18. Having been here since he was 15 he has not had a bad innings. He will not be replaced and we are planning a reduction sale on May 21 to leave us with about 300 ewes, which we will in-winter and lamb between myself and the cattlemen.
Hopefully by next month we will have managed to turn all the stock out onto the lush grass and summer will be here to stay. *
Lambing continues at a great pace, but ewes and lambs are having to stay in because of poor weather, says Ewan Brewis.