Giles Henry rents 105ha
(260 acres) on a 10-year
lease and 114ha (280 acres)
of heather moorland near
Selkirk in the Scottish
Borders. Cropping is mainly
grass with 10ha (24 acres) of
spring barley. It is stocked
with 650 breeding ewes and
95 hoggs, 30 Luing cattle
with followers and finishers
I was really glad that we were not lambing in April, having seen as much rain in one month as we have probably had all winter. What made the month worse was biting cold winds, hard frosts, sleet and snow.
Calving has been going well with 28 cows calved and a calf ratio of two heifers to every bull, which is pleasing. We have lost two calves, one of which was born on a cold sleety morning when I was late in going up the hill to check the cows.
I had an excuse, as the lorry collecting our first consignment of spring lambs had delayed me.
The other calf loss was a strange one, which I had never seen before. The cow appeared to lose her afterbirth, or at least part of it before she had actually calved. This meant the placenta had detached itself from the calf while it was still in the womb and the calf was born dead. You live and learn.
As I mentioned before we have started selling spring lambs and to date have sold 46, averaging 19kg on the hook. And they have come to reasonable money.
There could be a good butcher/catering market for these lambs and I will certainly pursue this for next season. It may be worth having a look at our market possibilities anyway, as by 2002 we should have organic product coming on stream.
On May 4 we brought cows down off the hill to some good grazing for those with calves, and onto a field next to the house for those yet to calve.
It will be easier for my daughter Fiona to look after them – with help from the neighbours – while Alison and I jet off to California for 10 days to attend my cousins wedding.
All our youngstock have gone out as well, to a good bite of grass and pleasant sunshine. Spring barley is through and the sainfoin and grass are also appearing. After all the rain, the welcome sunshine that we now have should bring things on a treat. *
Giles Henry has begun selling spring lambs, 46, averaging 19kg on the hook, have gone so far and they have come to reasonable money.