John Alpe farms in
partnership with his parents
on the tenanted 80ha (200
acres) at New Laund Farm,
owns a neighbouring
farm of 36ha (90 acres), and
rents a further 40ha (100
acres) running 60 dairy
cows and 60 followers, 500
ewes and 250 store lambs.
Bacon pigs are also fed on
A NEW batch of weaner pigs arrived in early February and unusually proved to be very variable in size. Unfortunately, two days after arriving they contracted a type of blood scour.
We enlisted the vet, who prescribed an antibiotic solution in the water supply which cured the infection quite easily, but not before several pigs had died. Fortunately all veterinary costs are paid by BOCM Pauls.
I hate to lose good pigs and so far we havent got off to a very good start. A healthy, evenly grown batch of weaners are initially very little work. To help maintain their warmth we house them together in lots using only two-thirds of the pens available. As they grow, we intermittently assess them and draw out the smallest pigs from each pen to make up new groups, therefore gradually filling all the remaining pens to capacity just before they start to be taken as bacon weight.
Since the last in-calf cow finally calved in mid-January well have no more dairy calves now until summer, when in mid-July the heifers start the calving cycle once again. I anticipate our milk production to be slightly under quota this year and with this in mind we may sell some clean quota and buy some back in the new quota year.
We are feeding the sheep hay and big bale silage. Concentrates have now been introduced to the batch due to lamb first. So far this winter the only problem weve encountered with the breeding ewes is that several have contracted an eye infection. It seems that if this is detected early it is easy to treat topically with an antibiotic cream to the eye but it is certainly puzzling why it should become so prevalent.
Though it hurts to discuss it, we still have 40 feeding lambs left, and the sooner they are gone the happier Ill be. Though they have fed reasonably well, every time they sell they take money with them. Normally we buy store lambs in September but thinking they were too dear last autumn we avoided buying any until November when the price reduced a little and temptation got too much. The 100 horned lambs which were bought to average £20.50 will all lose money, after feed costs. The only bright spot is that in some years we have bought up to 400 lambs, so things could have been far worse. *
Sheep are being fed hay and silage, with concentrates now introduced to the earliest lambers at John Alpes.