Playing catch-up in the fields and yard after a harsh spring
Published 27/05/2015 | 02:30
At last the weather seems to have normalised and that cold harsh blast has finally moved on. At my recent STAP meeting we could separate the farmers who had grass problems into two groups, those that had not reseeded in recent years and those that had.
In a year like this, reseeded grass pays dividends. It has a faster response to fertiliser and pushes on with growth, albeit it might be slower than normal but it is still better than older pasture. Those that had reseeded in my STAP group were therefore performing better on the grass front than those that had not.
With this in mind, provided that I get the weather for it, I am going to reseed some of my older swards this summer.
The ewes and lambs are doing well, I regularly keep them moving about the farm in order to keep them grazing the top of the grass. I hope to be drafting the first of my lambs in late June - but time will tell. The pet lambs are now on ad-lib meal inside and are thriving better than my lambs outside. I expect to have most of them drafted by the end of June.
While everyone is looking out for grass tetany at this time of year, my biggest problem has been ewes getting stuck on their backs as well as mastitis. A ewe getting stuck on her back is down to them being in good condition, as well as having a heavy fleece of wool.
It is the most frustrating way to lose a sheep so I have to check them twice a day in order to avoid any more losses. I have plently of scratching posts about the farm but nevertheless they still manage to get into difficulty.
The mastitis, going by what other farmers have also experienced, is probably a side affect of the harsh weather. I'm not sure how this is the case but I can see no other explanation for it. You just have to keep an eye out for ewes not looking the best or lagging back from the rest of the flock and treat them with a long-acting antibiotic.
Generally May is the month to get things tidied up around the farm after lambing. May is also the month for weed control and I'll get out with the sprayer to nail some docks that have been raising their ugly heads around the place.