The weather dominates as usual. Just this spring/summer is the opposite to last year. We all have an embarrassing abundance of grass. I don’t want to be down to the last couple of bales of haylage again like we were this very kind spring.
Lambs are obviously growing really well (as can be seen with their 8 week weights), and as we move to weaning next week, hopefully the ewes will be able to recover well. Last year it was noticeable that the first time lambers struggled to rebuild condition which in turn effected their lambing percentages this spring. Although we try and keep on top of predators, one particular flock lost nearly 10% of their lambs up to the 8 week weights. Although the grass was longer than usual, I only found a couple of half eaten lambs, the usual sign of trouble. Obviously, a vixen very nearby. Two more foxes have subsequently been shot. I personally like to see the odd fox, but with various shoots keeping the foxes’s pheasant larder well stocked during the winter, and no natural predator, hungry foxes and lambing will always be a major problem. I think this was the costliest spring from that point of view for many years.
The main crop of shearlings were all sold at the end of June. This year we lambed a group of hoggets for the first time, some of which we will sell in September, when I know for sure how many culls we will be having this summer. I would guess a further 30-40 to sell.
I was interested that the buyer of the shearlings this June was buying primarily on an EBV basis. This is something I was planning to do next year – sell females like rams based and priced on their Index EBV. As we build out the genomics data that we in the Performance Recorded Lleyn Group are currently collecting, I strongly believe that we can add significant information and therefore value to future buyers of breeding stock.
Although we struggle with the new Signet data feed, particularly in its ability to currently link up with Farm IT, EBVs for our shearling rams look to have broadly edged up. I will update the key EBVs for those rams over next few days. In broad terms, there are 76% that range from Top 1% to Top 10% Index EBVs. It will be another 3 weeks before we get the MYOMAX data back.