Our Farm Manager, Bob, has been with us for over 30 years. A farmer’s son, Bob joined us as a shepherd after agricultural college and has been with us ever since!
We spoke to Bob about some of the challenges created by the summer weather and what his plans are for autumn.
What challenges did the hot, dry weather over summer bring to the farm?
“The main challenge created by the hot, dry weather was around grass growth. Growth in the pastures was below normal which affects the cattle more than the sheep as they need a longer sword to graze. Regrowth after first cut silage was very slow, slower than I have ever seen. This made the second cut late and therefore affects weaning and the amount of autumn grass available for grazing. However, we do have all the silage we will need for the winter when many others do not.
Another challenge created by the heat was the use of our sheep dogs to move animals and bring them to the farm for shearing and treatments. For many weeks it was too hot to use them during the day so sheep had to be moved early morning or in the evening.”
What’s the plan for autumn?
“The autumn work begins with the weaning of lambs from the ewes, delayed this year due to a late second cut. It is also the time to prepare the flock for the next season, we cast off older ewes and purchase any new ones we need.
We have to plan at this time for the transition from fat cattle at grass to those housed for the winter. This has to start in August as the fattening period takes 3 months minimum. We have already housed some cattle and batched the rest and started some on supplementary feed. Replacement cattle are also purchased in the autumn.
We will also be continuing with the build of our new cattle fattening shed.”