Posted on 26 April, 2015Comments (0)

Farm News

Farm News

When I wrote about the sheep flock in January we had recently scanned the ewes. This information enabled the ewe’s diet to be adjusted to the number of lambs that they were carrying to help ensure good sized viable lambs. Lambing is now complete and went very well with only 4 lamb deaths and lots of healthy lambs. A huge thanks to all who helped especially Sally who did most of the work. A summary of the results are as detailed:-

  • The 4 ewes that were scanned as barren have not produced any lambs.
  • The 14 ewes scanned as singles actually produced 21 lambs i.e. – 7 scanned as single actually produced twins
  • 2 ewes scanned as multiple had singles – the foetus may have been reabsorbed
  • 2 ewes produced triplets which they are successfully rearing
  • A total of about 80 lambs gives a lambing % of 1.82 lambs per ewe that lambed
  • In sheep management terms the true figure is 1.66 because the 4 barren ewes should be included
  • The number actually sold is the critical figure and there is a long way until all have been marketed – worms, fly strike, pneumonia etc.. plus the well-known tendency for lambs to find obscure methods to kill themselves will all sadly reduce that number.

Lambing started in early March when grass growth is slow so even after lambing the ewes received supplementary feed concentrates to maintain their body condition and as a consequence their milk yield which is essential for good lamb growth rates. The availability of grass is also critical to growth rates so about half the flock moved from Medstead to Hall Farm – this has eked out what grass growth there is so that no ewes have been hungry. With the minimal rain since March and the sometimes cold winds this decision has turned out to be very good – if they were all in one mob they would be chasing every blade of grass as it grows.

The downside of moving sheep from one farm to another is the paperwork involved despite the ownership not changing. Every animal has its own unique EU number and legally this must be recorded, when an inter farm movement occurs, and reported to the Defra Animal Movement Recording Service plus copies to the departure farm (me), receiving farm (me) and haulier (me).

At the time of writing we are having a wonderful spell of weather which will help crop growth and hopefully yield. The growth stages are back to normal after last year’s early start which is a good thing – forward plants can be damaged by late frosts just as in the garden.

Julian Lewis

[Please note that this message is not posted on behalf of Bentworth Parish Council and does not necessarily reflect the Parish Council’s policy]

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