Opinion: We need to plan differently and learn from a dire winter
This spring will be long remembered for all the troubles it has brought. Everywhere that there was grass it was simply too wet to graze.
Like many, I'm hopeful the recent rise in temperatures will continue and will help grass growth. I thought I would get away with not feeding much meal once the ewes went to grass but this wasn't the case. Some batches of ewes needed extra feed and were supplemented where grass was tight.
This was a complete contrast to last year when the ewes went to grass they got no concentrates as the growth was good enough.
I thought April would be safe enough weather wise for lambing but this has not been the case with all the rain and this has made it difficult on hill farms that are lambing at the moment.
Going forward, we all have to review our system following this difficult winter and spring and plan differently. In particular we need to look at:
- Lambing dates
- Stocking rates
- Fodder saved
We should all perhaps look at saving a little more fodder for longer winters if this trend continues.
Old sheds should be adjusted to suit sheep for lambing, while building new facilities should be considered under the TAMS scheme.
We are in a business that is strongly influenced by weather, maybe more so than any other business and it is up to us to prepare ourselves for this by planning ahead.