Ewan Brewis

28 March 1997

Ewan Brewis

Ewan Brewis 700ha(1750-acre) farm is split into two units at Kelso in the Scottish Borders. Stocking is 340 sucklers, a 40-cow pedigree Aberdeen-Angus herd, 20-cow pedigree Charolais herd, 60 pedigree Suffolk and 960 commercial ewes.

UNFORTUNATELY this months update is not full of better news. We still seem to be accident prone, with the older JCB forklift taking it upon itself to self-destruct in a spontaneous flare-up whilst unattended and switched-off in the middle of the field. Result – one total write-off.

The windless conditions last month changed to continuous gales as soon as we decided to try and spread fertiliser. One of the other unfortunate side-effects of the gales has been that the burnt out building has cast its few remaining pieces of asbestos sheeting liberally around the top steading, together with a covering of chopped straw the length and breath of the village.

The second half of February gave us 50mm of rain but so far March has seen none at all. At least this has enabled us to get on with land work including top dressing all the winter cereals and some of the grass. We have also sown 115 acres of spring barley. The only remaining sowing is the turnip field and one grass field, both of which have in-lamb ewes still running on them.

Calving continues in a stop-go fashion with good, strong, healthy calves being produced. Unfortunately as we write this, the pedigree calves have taken a bout of pneumonia with every calf showing a rise in temperature, resulting in vaccinations all round. This will be repeated in two days, after which I think we should turn them out as soon as possible.

Gattonside Mains calving is also in full swing and so far no major problems except for one set of stillborn twins. All part of stock rearing.

Phase two of the lambing is underway and the only comments I have had from the Herd is "Ower money bloody threes" – too many triplets – which of course can be a problem as one tends to get a few weak lambs which all take time and effort to rear – or die. But all things considered, the lambing is going very well.

My patience is being severely tested by the Scottish Office with regard to the separate business saga – their attitude seems more stubborn than ever. Even more annoying is that six months on, we still await Novembers suckler cow premium which is in excess of £40,000. I dont suppose there will be any penalty imposed on them? Perhaps next month…n

Life isnt proving any easier for Ewan Brewis this month, with the old unattended forklift spontaneously combusting. And the pedigree calves have had a bout of pneumonia, which meant vaccinations all round.

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