Life on the farm column

editorial image

The end is in sight, we have just over 100 sheep left to clip which we should have done by the time that you read this.

We are going to get them done before August which is our aim, but this year we will probably have the wool away before August which doesn’t always happen. This year the wool has already gone down in price and if we don’t get it away before August it is going to go down even more, already it is only worth half as much as last year. We started with all of the Masham ewes as these sheep are the ones which have the most rise earlier on(the end of June) compared to the

Dalesbred ewes which can be tight to clip early on. The rise is what separates the wool from the skin, it is what you clip between the skin and the wool, if the sheep doesn’t have a lot of rise they can be very difficult to clip. I clipped some Dalesbred ewes the other day because they had started maggoting with only the slightest bit of damp on them. So I decided that instead of wasting time trimming the wool off to get to the skin in would be easier to just clip them and treat them for maggots, but they were just a bit tight, so took slightly longer to clip than normal.

The moor sheep were gathered at the start of July for clipping, this is High and Low West moor and Lodge moor at the top of the dale, there are our sheep and five other farmers sheep on the moor, so we all get together and gather it all at once. The weather did well for us, the fog didn’t start to drop in until we were on our way down, so we were lucky to get them down and we had a good gather.

We walked them back home to clip once they had been sorted at the pens at the moor, as the weather didn’t let us clip there. We managed to get them in the next day to clip after it rained then took them back the following morning so we had the rest of the day to get on with jobs. The rest of the Dalesbred ewes we have been clipping between jobs, I clipped the moor twins last weekend so we could take them back to the moor as they don’t go in May when the singles do, we wait until they are stronger and send them back once we have clipped them. The main reason they go back to the moor is because the gimmers need to be hefted to the moor, so they go back next year to where they suckled this year.

Since we have got past the Great Yorkshire show and the weather became a bit better the telephone has gone mad, everyone is wanting to be on silaging and making hay. There were two days last week when everyone wanted to be on and then we had some of our own grass down so fitting that in wasn’t very easy, we had a late night to get it done before the rain came, but we managed it. Since the weather is now back to been catchy we have managed to have a catch up at home. In some of the fields that we silaged last week my Dad has been putting some new grass seeds into the meadows with the uni drill. This is a different way of reseeding as it isn’t that easy to do much reseeding up here as we don’t have very much soil depth but have a lot of stone so putting the seed in directly without ploughing it up is a lot easier. We did some two years ago and we couldn’t believe the difference, we got 10 bales to the acre, which is very good considering a few years ago we were struggling to get 6 bales to the acre. I think that this is the best way to reseed up here, there is less

stone picking!