John Gordon: Delayed spring puts even more pressure on dwindling feedstuffs
The winter and spring of 2010 will be remembered in this part of the world as one of the worst in living memory. On the last two days of March, 18 inches of snow fell along with blizzard conditions, making it one of the worst days so far.
Lambing is becoming a disaster for many. So much time, effort and money spent on sheep over the last three months will now bear little fruit. Our local deadstock collection picked up 1,000 feeding hoggs and 4,000 ewes last week with 6,000 lambs inside them; that’s potentially a £1 million a week knocked off the sheep industry.
We lamb inside and getting ewes outside is impossible. With almost 100 ewes and lambs in pens it creates a lot of extra work but in the circumstances, with everyone putting in long hours, lambing is going well.
We do not have enough silage - the ewes have eaten 200 bales more than we expected
There is no sign of any growth yet and the early spring everyone was hoping for is not going to happen. We would really like to get some cows out onto swedes as we do not have enough silage – the ewes have eaten 200 bales more than we expected.
With straw trading over £100/tonne plus haulage I wish someone would grow a crop that could yield twice the straw, half the barley and at half the cost. At this price, it costs more than £100 per calf per winter for straw, so a good trade for stores is essential.
We would like to have been further on with the calving, as only 80 cows out of 110 have calved. We had a successful caesarean but lost three calves with cryptosporidium scour, which took a few days to diagnose. Other scouring calves have now been treated with Halocur and have responded well.
We PD’d autumn calving cows and with only 10 per cent barren we were reasonably pleased. They were given prids and have been bulled on March 29 so hopefully our new bull will settle his cows.
We all enjoyed watching Lambing Live on the TV, and if Kate Humble is interested in another job I hope she gets in touch.