Monday 16 August 2010

Drawing to a close

Shep is still busy shearing. Have to say I am getting well through, in actual fact my usual shearing was finished last week and since then a few days have been given to other shearers to get them caught up on the job before another season draws upon us.

As is oft the case the weather can worsen causing lost days on the shearing boards, when it picks up farmers get busy with their hay and silage crops and more days are lost to the shearer, finally when the season ought to be over there are still woolly sheep running around out there and there is a desperation to get them all clipped out before the night frosts return.

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This 'summer' turned out to be poor. We did have a heatwave in early/mid June but from then onwards the weather deteriorated, I blame good old St Swithen and am looking forward to the 24th August when I am convinced the weather will look up, the sun will shine and all will be well.

Rain was badly needed, grassland has freshened up nicely and stock have been doing better. However the inclement weather has made shearing, hay and silage work difficult for many. The rain came a tad late. If only the tables could have been turned and the rain had come after lambing time to get the grass growing with the heatwave following to make gathering the fodder easier and shearing sheep a doddle - it was not to be with the result that every farmer I have spoken to has less fodder than usual. Less bales of hay and silage to see them through the winter, quite a problem when there was nothing left over from last winter - nothing held in reserve to supplement a poor crop this year.

It sounds like the trend is pretty similar through out the country which is slightly disconcerting as anyone requiring extra hay or silage will find it is at a premium; difficult to source and probably dear to buy. Many around here have spread fertiliser on their cleared hay fields in the hope of being able to snatch a second crop in September, a few more bales to boost their much needed winter supply, fortunately the damp weather has enabled this fertiliser to get a hold in the soil and is therefore encouraging the grass to grow, hopefully there may be a dry spell in a few weeks which will enable the crop to be lifted easily.

As for Shep? Well a couple more days in the clipping sheds and that should see the season draw to a close. For a day or two I thought I wouldn't be able to round my clipping count up to 3,000, I now find myself now chasing 3,500 but know this is highly improbable as there are only a handful of sheep left to be shorn. Not to worry, the tally is above last years and for all I like nice round figures I'll just have to content myself with some peculiar final total