Thank God for a fine week and hopefully there will be more like it. It is a huge boost for man and beast.
The amount of work such as fertiliser spreading, straw baling, topping and shearing that needed to be done was daunting. Three weeks ago, we were despairing of ever getting through all these jobs.
We managed to spread one bag of nitrogen on nearly all of the grazing fields. We put one and a half bags of pasture sward on grass sown this year and any fields cut late for silage.
The extension to the date for spreading slurry will allow us to put what we have left on to each paddock as they are grazed out tight with the ewes. We have also finished shearing. The ewe lambs were last. However, I am disappointed with my wool weight. Our average per sheep shorn is about 2.25kg.
This includes the ewe lambs so our ewes should be somewhere around 3kg. The wool was very dry with little grease. Maybe this is another effect of the wet and cold summer. The price is also back on last year and we are very close to taking a loss on the big job of removing the wool.
Lamb thrive has improved. We took a load of lambs to the factory two weeks ago. Average weight live was 44kg and they killed out 19.37kg. This works out at a kill-out of 44pc.
These lambs got no meal but when picking them we were leaving out heavier lambs that didn't have enough fat cover on them. All the remainder are getting meal now.
We have more lambs to kill tomorrow that have been on meal for six weeks and should kill out better. With a very poor trade for store lambs and plenty of them for sale, we will feed everything we have and hope to get paid for inputs. About half of the cull ewes have been sold. These are also back by about €15 on last year.
All the ewes are now on good grass as we will be synchronising them to lamb in early March. Sponges will be put in early October and inseminated two weeks later. We should have enough grass to keep them going until early November.
We bought two ram lambs at the ICBF ram sale in Tullamore. Both were Texals with good minus days to slaughter and five-star ratings for production and overall sheep value. Their maternal star ratings were only one and two, but as none of their progeny will be kept as replacements I did not put much emphasis on the maternal figures.
The sale was again well organised and a good sale for all breeds. The only point I would make is that next year's catalogues should be sent to people who purchased rams this year. This would enable potential buyers to pick out the rams they are interested in viewing before the sale.
It would be easier to have ten rams marked in your book before the sale than to try to balance glasses on your nose and a pen behind your ear, talk politely to people you have not seen in a year, and pick out rams you expect will improve your flock.
All the straw is purchased by now and has been put into the shed. It was baled in the good weather and did not need any turning, so we will have good dry straw for winter.
We also bought 20t of barley off the combine. This was cut dry at a price of around €200/t.
We have some more repairs to fences and a few gates to put in place. A bundle of stakes have been on the out farm since last May. But, due to lack of time and the weather, not one of them has been put up yet. Hopefully, before we go to the ploughing we will get a day to get that job done and another day to get the sheep dipped.
John Large farms at Gortnahoe, Co Tipperary. email@example.com