John Fagan: Sheep welfare scheme has delivered on health costs
I am letting out all the rams this week, and so begins the countdown to lambing 2018.
Letting the rams out this week means that lambing should kick off around March 5. The flock are in good shape and condition scoring them and managing them post weaning has gone fairly well.
I took a faecal sample from the lighter bunch of ewes in early September and it transpired that they had quite a heavy worm burden so I dosed them with an ivermectin dose. This has significantly improved their condition.
I also took the opportunity to shear the entire flock again. Shearing them now, some farmers have told me, does them a world of good going into the winter. It also means that I should be able to fit more in the sheds and have less dagging and handling next spring.
The plan now is to shear later next year and maybe just cover them with Clik early in the summer to cover against flystrike.
As the winter approaches I am gradually closing off the farm to preserve the grass for next spring. I aim to have close to 80pc of the farm closed off by mid-December and doing this will make life easier for everyone next spring.
Grass will be available for ewes and lambs as well as the yearling dairy calves that I have here on a contract rearing arrangement.
Getting stock out early is cheaper and more beneficial for everyone.