This week, Matthew battles with mastitis, while he also looks to get as much urea out as possible. Read more below!
Name: Matthew Kehoe
Education: UCD Animal Science student
Farm: Jacob sheep farmer in Co. Wexford
Unfortunately, last week’s weather didn’t give me a dry few days to turn out the ewes and lambs to grass so they’ll have to wait until this weekend.
I did get out to spread more Urea and there’s been a noticeable response where it was spread 3 weeks ago on the drier paddocks. At the moment, while our grass is growing, the ground is too soft to travel on it with the tractor. On the paddocks around the shed, I’ve been reduced to using a small plastic push broadcast spreader to get the fertilizer out. While it only spreads about 15 kilos at a time and has the neighbours thinking I’ve well and truly lost it, it does give an even spread with no damage to the ground.
Meal costs have been very high over the last few weeks and are eating into money that in other years would have been spent on fertilizer. At this stage there’s little point in worrying about it, farming is a long-term game with good and bad years and this is one of the bad ones. I’ve taken the view that this year it would be far better to continue concentrate feeding, whatever the cost, to avoid being left with a large number of store or stunted lambs later in the year. Our system and high stocking rate doesn’t allow room for surplus animals for long post-weaning.
We gained a few more bottle lambs this week as one hogget dried up and another got mastitis. Both cases were as a result of this year’s extended housing period. Both hoggets have been isolated to reduce any disease risk to the rest of the flock over the final few days indoors. Even with adequate nutrition and good hygiene it’s hard to get it all right. These two ewes will remain indoors and will be finished over the coming weeks.
I’ve purchased an EWE2 feeder for next year as we are currently bottle feeding any orphan lambs four times a day. The lambs are thriving, but the mother is getting fed up of making milk replacer.
In fact, the whole operation wouldn’t function without her. It’s hard to beat having someone around the farm who can help you out with these little jobs, who can take over while I’m away and can act as a sounding board during the good and bad times.