Farmers Diary: Spring has sprung


It’s nearly St. Patrick's day and the farmers of Ireland are turning their minds to letting out their stock. John shares his thoughts in this week's farmers diary.

Farmers Diary: Spring has sprung

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It’s nearly St. Patrick's day and the farmers of Ireland are turning their minds to letting out their stock. John shares his thoughts in this week's farmers diary.

It’s nearly St. Patricks day and the farmers of Ireland are turning their minds to letting out their stock.

The sun is out, I’ve left the heavy winter coat to one side and I’m beginning to look to the sky once more with a hint of optimism. It wasn’t that bad of a winter to be honest, it was nothing to the rains and flooding of last year. I think even our younger readers will remember 2016 as a terrible year for farming.

I’ve been watching as I drive around the country and have noticed the first signs of what I’m calling farmers spring; lambs in the fields and cattle out. It does a man good to see the cycle of life and rebirth once again.

Winter is a hard time on everyone, we wage our yearly battle with the elements and our world shrinks down to such a small area; our yard, the silage pit or bales and the calving and lambing sheds. It can be an isolating time and so it was with joy that we started to let the first animals out this week.

Ground is wet but drying and silage is starting to run low so it was a calculated move on the families behalf. Our first batch of suckler cows that were released had strong calves who had outgrown the creep and were ready to move to grass.

There’s nothing like fresh ground to make a calf thrive anyway.

We have just three sheep left to lamb, all the already born lambs and ewes are now out to grass. I delayed lambing this year having previously opted for an early lamb but after a chance meeting with a bel Tex breeder at last year’s ploughing I was converted to later lambing. The benefits of it have become so clear;

Less harsh weather

More grass in the field

Lower feed costs

Lower mortality rate

The lambs I have let out are thriving safe and well and the worst of the weather is gone. In the long run I’ve saved myself a huge amount of money and yes I won’t have the early lamb but prices last year for the early lamb were not great and my profit was gone between feed costs and lamb mortality due to harsh weather.

Walking the fields at the weekend there’s work that needs to be done in regards to fencing. Gate that need rehanging and general upkeep that comes every spring. It will be lovely to get back out to the ground and spend some time on the soil.

We’re selling some of our yearlings now and prices are coming along well. Buyers have said the demand is there and we are thankful.

This Saint Patrick’s day is not last years, the seasons have turned, life has changed and so have we.

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