January can be a mixed month in terms of weather in Scotland, however so far this year we have seen little snow or frost.

Incredibly the grass has never stopped growing and this has been a great aid to keep in-lamb ewes fit, which we scanned this week, allowing us to segregate them into early and late lambing batches.

Scanning is always a nerve racking day as depending on the results, can have a huge impact on lamb numbers available to sell. At this stage there is also very little that can be done to improve ewe condition, as all nutrition is now passed to the developing lambs.

Thankfully, this year's results have come out positive with the overall scanning figure up 13%, with ewes at 190% and ewe hoggs at 108% as a result of a 50% reduction in the number of empty ewes, and a reduction in the number of females carrying singles.

We are always pleased if a ewe hogg can raise a single lamb successfully and continue to grow in size and strength themselves. As with any business, productivity is essential to success and any ewes that scanned empty will now be sent to market.

Ewes are also colour coded and split to lamb in three groups according to when they are due, thereby ensuring each batch has plenty of room to lamb within the two large lambing sheds. Ewe hoggs are last to lamb.

We have 5% of last years crop of lambs left to finish and are optimistic they will all be away by the end of January. They are grazing the direct drilled stubble turnips which we feel have proved a great supplementary feed. We still have a small amount of turnips to graze but these will be grazed by the in-lamb ewe lambs that are not due until into April.

As mentioned previously our dry cows are outside strip grazing fodder beet and are looking fit for calving at the end of February so we have begun giving them access to silage and a bale of ammonia treated straw at night.


Graeme Mather farms on a large family-run upland beef and sheep unit at Shandford, Brechin, where the best of the female stock is retained for breeding while the remainder is finished. The family also look to breed as many of their own stock rams and bulls as possible.