Life on the Farm with Frances Graham: We need weather to improve for health of both animals and fields

Lambing has nearly finished, with just a few odds and sods left to lamb at home and at Greenhow.

Thursday, 13th May 2021, 1:28 pm

The next job is marking all the horned lambs, we leave these until they have finished lambing because we have to tag and mark all the lambs up to which flock they belong to before they can go back to the moor.

All the other lambs are marked after they are born because we then move them away from home.

I started on Sunday with the few moor singles at home, the first packed is always the hardest because you haven’t got a routine of what is to do so once a few are marked it seems to get easier.

All the lambs are given a worm drench, vitamin drench, ear marked, marked and tagged. The gimmer lambs have two tags put in and the tup lambs have just one (electronic) because these lambs will go to slaughter, whereas the gimmer lambs will be kept for replacements so are required to have two tags (one electronic and one matching manual tag).

Sometimes we wouldn’t have dosed the ewes and lambs but with the weather and lack of grass growth everything needs worming because there has been so many sheep over all the fields.

The weather over the past week has taken its toll on the sheep, snow in May just seems so wrong but yet again while some of the Dale managed to turn white, we did manage again to miss it laying at home.

But the frosty nights stalled grass growth and the cooler days, so the sheep have been on top of the grass, we are in need for it to warm up, but the grass will take some getting over the past few months.

Until the rain over the past week we had no grass at home and at York, normally you’d expect the weather to be better down at York so there would be more grass but it’s been steady.

Because the weather has been so cold the moor hasn’t been that fresh which is delaying us freeing us some fields at home so that the cows could be going out. But we are going to have to turn some out this week because the straw and silage are going fast now, we had to buy a load of hay this week as well and are already starting to eat a way into that. Also with the weather being cold on a night and so dry we haven’t managed to get much fertiliser spread because it was burning the grass off even more than it already was. Spreading muck is the best way of protecting the grass from the frost and dry hot days, it gives the grass some protection and then once it gets growing it normally can be ok. We have just got five cows left to calve as well, hopefully they will soon calve.

Calving hasn’t gone too bad this year so far, we had to have a caesarean the other week because the calf was too big to come out and she didn’t seem to try and push much either. But this could have been because the calf was upside down, we have had two like that this year, my Dad managed to get one of them the right way up but the one with caesarean we just couldn’t get the right way up.