July 23

4 August 2023

Having tested the flock in late June for MV they have passed their routine test, so we retain our accredited status.

We have started selling the shearling rams from both breeds and we still have some available. It is great to catch up with old clients and find out about new breeders and how we can find the optimum ram to fit their system. We still have a selection of forager reared Hampshire Down and Lleyn shearling rams.

The aim is to get a draw of lambs and then wean around 90 days. This year because, there has been more grass about, we have left it a little later than usual. This did seem to have a negative impact on lamb growth rates for the last week or so they were with their mothers. Lesson learned for future years and we will stick to an earlier weaning. For the first time we have tried drenching lambs that fell below a threshold for growth instead of the whole group. This meant we only drenched around 80 out of 300 lambs, not only did it save on wormer, it helped to identify those that appear more tolerant to parasites. Only worming a selection of the group had a big impact on reducing the Faecal Egg Count (FEC) too.

Our eight week weight data has been entered into Signets evaluation, so we have been able to use the 8ww, Maternal Ability and Litter Size EBV to make our preliminary decisions on ram selection, combined with any that have any lambing difficulty. We have been through the ewe lambs and mature ewe flocks so far and had a good draw away. The remainder of the lambs have been moved onto newer leys to begin a rotation. The ewes are staying on the older grass fields and will move round them, to try and grow more grass.

This year we are aiming to reseed some old grassland, in one field the aim is to graze hard and direct drill, re-graze for a week with the ewes. The other has been sprayed off and drilled with stubble turnips, which will be grazed over winter and that field will be reseeded in the spring. The rain and warm weather we had, has really helped the stubble turnips take, hopefully the flea beetle stays away long enough for them to get away.

While the rain is good for the grass and stubble turnips, it has proved a challenge for the arable harvest. Despite the weather we have been able to harvest the Oilseed rape and winter barley, thanks to the hard work of Matthew and Daniel.

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Normanby Lodge, Normanby-le-wold, Market Rasen, Lincolnshire LN7 6SX
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