This is a busy time of year for livestock farmers, and for arable farmers too. All tasks have to be fitted in around the weather and it feels as if we have had the winter’s rainfall arrive over the course of the last week. However we are rather glad we are not farming in Scotland as they have had far too much rain and almost all at once. The grass has really started to grow which is very good as we start lambing in three weeks time.
We have had a few animal health issues on the farm in recent weeks and to counter these problems our excellent vets have prescribed mineral boluses for the sheep and vaccination for the ewes against the clostridial diseases. These are a group of several diseases which are soil borne and include tetanus.
The Soil Association have given us permission to do these treatments and a derogation for treatment is permissible on the grounds of animal welfare.
We are all anxious over the threat of Schmallenberg disease as we know there are already confirmed cases in Kent. However we hope, because we lamb in April, that we may yet escape it. This is because the breeding season for our sheep was in November and hopefully there were fewer midges around at the critical time of foetal development.
On the non-organic farmland applying fertiliser to the oilseed rape (canola) will be the next task once the fields have dried up enough for a tractor to travel without causing damage to the soil structure. The drilling of the spring beans crop is also on the list.