Sheep: Strong prices mask some pressing issues in the sector
AS November draws to a close and grass supplies start to get scarce, winter housing and feeding are not far away.
Very good grass growth in September and October has left ewes in fine condition going into the winter.
The most important thing now is not to lose this condition by leaving ewes out without grass to eat. If you have to leave them out, supplement with silage or some other feed.
We have some ewes on rented grass until near Christmas and more are on the out farm eating off any grass left after the cows and calves which were housed on November 10. We still have to move 100 to fodder-beet tops. The remainder have enough grass until mid-December at which time they will be housed and fed hay or silage.
We have about 75pc of the lambs sold and after the latest increase in price, more will go next week.
The price increase is very welcome especially since we have fed very little meal so far this year. Our aim is to finish most of our lambs off grass only.
The current strong prices should be a help to those who bought store lambs last August and September. These customers are very important to us sheep farmers as they add an extra outlet for lambs when numbers are high at marts in the autumn.
When they can make a profit on their investment it means they will be back next year especially if they have plenty of grass to eat.