Tom Staunton: ‘Factories need to get real with their quotes’
All sheds are cleaned out for lambing and have been disinfected and sprayed with probiotics. I’m gathering up gates around the farm for the lambing pens and making sure I have all the supplies I need for lambing.
I also put an instant hot water unit into the lambing shed a few years ago and it makes life much easier at lambing. I would find it hard to go without now.
I put all the ewes through the footbath once again. There are a few ewes that needed some treatment and it was easier to footbath all. In general feet are good.
Keeping a good dry bed under the ewes and segregating those that have an issue is key. They will be put through the race once again for a 10 in 1 vaccine for clostridial diseases. I will vaccinate in the next two weeks. I find that this gives a cover to the lambs until they are about six weeks old. Making sure the lambs get colostrum is important though as the antibodies from the vaccine come through in the colostrum. The purebred ewes were vaccinated already and are due to start to lamb in a fortnight.
As the ram ran naturally with the Bluefaced Leicester ewes, there will be more of a spread in the lambing. I’m looking forward to them starting now at this stage. The ewes are carrying heavy now with a good crop of lambs in them. The triplet ewes are getting some extra feed to meet their requirements.
The goal is to have the lambs and ewes as healthy as possible at birth and to prepare the ewe to have plenty of colostrum and milk. Getting lambs off to a good start is key to survival and performance.
The protein of our silage this year is 12.7pc CP, DMD 70 and DM 38pc (dry matter). This is an improvement on the protein in our silage last year by over 2pc. Getting the silage right is a
starting point. Once we had the results we worked with Kiernan milling to make a ration to suit the silage. The ration used is much the same as last year made up of crushed maize, rolled barley, soya bean meal and sugar beet pulp and soya hulls. We top dress extra minerals and vitamins on top of the meal.
We found this worked well for us last year. The couple ewes will start with 400g of meal/head/day and work up to 800g/head/day while the single ewes will get 400g at a more flat rate for four weeks before lambing. All ground designated for the lambed ewes got 30 units of nitrogen to the acre in the form of urea last week. Grass growth has been good all winter with good covers at present.
Lamb prices are good, but factories continue to feel the need to quote 40c/kg under what the price actually is. The quoting has been like this for quite a while and is at this stage pointless.
Accurate quoting is what is needed. In any case, let’s hope the good prices hold for the year and that the spring is kind to us all.
Tom Staunton farms in Tourmakeady, Co Mayo