In Your Field: Kate Rowell - 'In the Scottish borders, spring is just around the corners, at last'

I know for other parts of the country it’s practically summer, but here in the Scottish Borders spring is just around the corner at last.

clock • 3 min read
In Your Field: Kate Rowell - 'In the Scottish borders, spring is just around the corners, at last'

I know for other parts of the country its practically summer, but here in the Scottish Borders spring is just around the corner at last.

Its brilliant to see the return of the lapwings and curlews, notice the daffodils starting to flower and hear the garden birds singing their hearts out again.

Lambing for the field ewes is just about to start and last years calves have headed up to Aberdeenshire for a very good price to finish on much better ground than we have here.

I didnt feel quite so upbeat a couple of weeks ago though after a few days of everything going wrong. Firstly, we had to gather the hill ewes in for scanning. This is never a popular job, and it was even less popular in the sleet, which was blowing almost horizontal on the only day we were able to get out the back.

Some of the teenagers had been bribed to come home from university for the weekend to help, but although they did their best, with only limited complaints, the sheep were just not playing the game. It took all day plus some very tired legs to get the majority in bye an expensive takeaway then had to be provided as compensation.

The scan itself went well, and we were happy with 120 per cent and only a dozen not in lamb.

This is in contrast to scans of 75-90 per cent only a few years ago, and shows that the effort weve put into nutrition and management is starting to pay off.

We then spent the rest of the day sorting them into different batches for efficient feeding in the run up to lambing. We had a real sense of satisfaction closing the last gate and knowing we wouldnt have to handle them again for a while.

The next day, still in buoyant spirits, we decided to weigh the calves in preparation for selling. The handling system upgrade isstillin discussion, so this was not the quick and easy job it could have been, but we did get them all through the crush and with the weigh head had all the right data inputted and buttons pressed.

I then took it into the house to download onto the computer you can probably imagine the feeling when I realised there was absolutely nothing there and that the whole days work had been completely pointless.

Ive no idea what happened, but not only had that days data had been lost, the whole thing had been completely wiped clean. This did not go down well.

To cheer myself up (and get away from the swearing) I decided to go for a walk with my dog Peggy. I was halfway down the road when I noticed that there seemed to be an awful lot of sheep in the field on my right.

Two different gates which should have been closed were standing open, and all the sheep that wed spent the previous day separating were mixed together again. I didnt think this news would help the situation so I kept it to myself until the next day.

So, two days work needed to be done again and the whole time was spent wondering out loud: who on earth would want to be a farmer? Its a good job that spring brings with it a sense of optimism and helps bad memories fade quickly, isnt it?

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