Challenges facing sheep farms are global
Ewes and lambs are currently grazing silage aftermath in Lyons. This silage was harvested on May 11 and has shown excellent regrowth. This is a new area of ground not previously grazed by sheep.
It was reseeded last autumn and is destined to become part of a new grazing study, so at the moment is not subdivided and runs to about 30 acres. While covers are low at the moment, the fact that it will be grazed as a single block means it would get out of control if we were to allow any further growth prior to introducing the sheep.
This land availability is timely as the hill ground (the traditional sheep grazing area of the farm) has suffered as a result of the low rainfall this spring.
The total rainfall for April was just under 10mm as opposed to the normal rainfall of 52mm. Rainfall up to May 24 was 27mm, which is around half of the total rainfall we would experience in May. The cumulative rainfall for 2017 is only 70pc of normal rainfall for our farm.
Thankfully, the rainfall of recent days will help to address the soil moisture deficit on the sheep grazing ground.
However, while grass growth has struggled in the last few weeks, the fact that the grass consumed by the lambs has been high in DM and the weather is dry, lambs have performed well.
Up to six weeks of age, twin lambs were growing at just over 350 grams per day.
All lambs were dosed with a white drench to control nematodirus, and all sheep were foot-bathed while moving from the hill ground to the after grass. The dry weather conditions have also minimised lameness issues this spring, which no doubt has also helped in achieving good lamb growth rates.