Sheep: Weather keeps farmers on toes but grass growth is now steady
Published 11/05/2016 | 02:30
Just when you think things might get quiet on the farm post lambing the weather, good or bad, always manages to keep farmers on their toes. I foot bathed and dosed all the lambs for nematodirus and despite the cold weather they seem to be doing quite well.
I don't see a huge flush of lambs arriving in June and I reckon the processors might just be tighter for numbers in June than they might think.
I got rid of all the cull ewes before the price dropped and it was great to offload them as they were eating valuable grass.
The lambing went reasonably well with 1.65 lambs per ewe from the mature flock and 1.3 from the ewe lambs. I am still feeding the hogget ewes with lambs at foot 0.5 kilos of an 18pc nut per day. I don't normally do this but with the tough end to the month of April I was slightly concerned that they might be under too much pressure to look after both themselves and their lambs.
I have enough feed left for them till the end of this week but with the weather now normalised and grass growth steady, they should be quite capable of fending for themselves. I find with ewe lambs you have to remember that they are still growing and if you want them to re-join the flock in October as a mature ewe then you have to be mindful of their condition at all times.
I brought in the rams and gave them a once over. Although it's a long time till they'll be needed again I like to keep them thriving. I unfortunately lost a good ram to black leg so I subsequently gave them a booster shot of Covexin 8.
I find that black leg can strike just when animals are thriving and maybe get a bump or a bruise which is often the case post handling. I should have given them a booster shot earlier so I've learnt a hard lesson.
Grass has been tight on the farm, and at times I had to supplement the ewes in some paddocks to give other paddocks the chance. Finally they seem to be holding their own on the grass as the effect of the fertiliser has kicked in. You need to give grass re-growths a chance to get going. If you continuously graze them down they will always be on the back foot. With the tightness of grass I haven't yet closed up ground for silage but I will do so as soon as the chance arises.