The Voice in your Community


Down on the Farm

by Angela Sargent

June 30th 2021, Issue 104

Previous articles by Angela Sargent can be found here

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare,
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long at sheep and cows.


That is something that many people have done during lockdown – taken note of nature and discovered how calming it is for the soul!

Birdsong will be increasing in volume by now, as nests are feathered, mates are found and fought over and eggs are laid. Nests are found in all sorts of places at times and not necessarily in the nesting box put up especially for them – we found one at sheep level in the back of a lambing pen and, unfortunately it didn’t survive a hungry sheep.

Insects are abundant, particularly where there are bodies of water or sweet- smelling blossom and they can cause issues for all livestock farmers, whether you are a dairy farm or otherwise. Insects can cause eye irritation in cattle and fly strike on sheep (and we will be shearing soon) so preventative measures have to be taken.

Ted has paid a visit to the vet to get his annual jabs and MOT and passed with flying colours, even though he got caught by a flying kick from a young steer on turnout day. As a working dog and a crucial part of the team, it is important he is kept in tip top condition and, just as importantly, wormed regularly.

There is a serious parasite which dogs can carry (and suffer ill health from) and can pass on to cattle (and vice versa) causing abortion and illness- Neospora. That’s why it’s important to pick up dog poop!

We are about at the end of lambing, having had a hectic start, and our spring sown crops are in, but field work isn’t finished as silage making begins, grass having been fertilised and crops will be treated, if necessary (all under strict regulation), for any pests and diseases

Large agricultural machines will be out on the roads, travelling from farm to farm or field to field, filling the narrow country lanes ad working late into the night at times.

May15th is also the closing date for applications to the government support scheme, which from this year, is to reduce by varying amounts depending on the size of the claim, with the intention being that the market will respond and fill the gap, eventually. But if we are to receive less then our inputs have to be less or more efficient if production isn’t to suffer and it’s difficult to see, in some cases, how this can be achieved.

Current high market prices don’t make up the shortfall endured over many years, particularly in the livestock sectors, but it will be nice for it to continue, if it does.