Sheep: There should be no fear of a fodder crisis next winter
Published 06/07/2016 | 02:30
With the silage cut, the sheep shorn and slurry going out, the last of the big jobs of the summer are nearly done.
It is nice to see some light at the end of the tunnel after a challenging spring and early summer. Grass growth rocketed here in the first three weeks of June.
I went from a position of worrying whether or not I'd have enough grass to a situation where I had so much grass I didn't know what to do with it. I now have the biggest pit of silage I have ever made so there will be no fodder shortages here for quite some time.
The wet weather is making things very tricky at the moment. I would have liked to be able to make some haylage when I had so much grass available, but the monsoon season had kicked in and mother nature wasn't going to allow for it.
The safest option was to make pit silage out of everything that had gotten too far ahead. I'll close up about 20 acres with a view to making haylage later in the season. I find that having haylage is handy during the winter months as both sheep and cattle love it.
I managed to draft roughly 200 lambs away before weaning. It is significantly less than what I drafted last year when I got almost 500 lambs away on one kill prior to weaning. I am putting this down to the poor weather we got in April when lambs missed out on thrive at an important time of year. I also had less ground available to the lambs as I had ringfenced a certain amount for the dairy heifers that depend on early turnout for breeding and thrive.
All the lambs were weaned last week. I think that the sooner you get this over with in June the better.
It gives the ewes time to recuperate for the next breeding season. I have often heard it said that lambing for the next season starts in July of the previous year.