What a quick year it has been so far – I can't quite believe we are heading into May.

We have been blessed with some truly fantastic weather, sunshine always makes a farmers job easier . Lambing has been tiring and hard work but a pleasure. Our team of both valued full-time member of staff and veterinary students have worked incredibly well together and as a result our lambing has been an overall success. The lambs are strong and the ewes have plenty of milk and have been keen to mother, which I feel is probably due to their overall fitness following the milder winter.

I have often stood back and wondered how on earth we managed with the snow and horrendous conditions last year. But within farming, as everyone knows, each season has its own challenges. We are so influenced by the weather that we are continuously adapting and changing our practices for whatever is thrown our way. No two years are ever the same, thank goodness!

We are now looking to clear the sheep off of the grass fields that will be cut for silage and move them up onto higher ground as the lambs have grown in strength. As the grass has sprouted quickly this year, we find ourselves with an abundance of spare turnips, which the summer calving cows will get a load a day, as additional nutrition so that they are not wasted.

Last year we calved a number of our heifers at two years of age and were delighted with the results. At the end of March, we had them in to get bolused and weighed ready for their second calving which will start at approximately the beginning of May. When we first started working with the heifers I had hoped they would go outside weighing on average 650kg, having successfully reared a calve. Infact, they have come in at an average of 710kg, so I am very pleased. I will however, have a clearer idea of how they have performed when we weigh their first calves from last year.

This year's batch of two-year-old heifers have been moved into the calving shed to be under the watchful eye of the calving camera. My oldest daughter Fallon, who will be 7 in May, loves checking the camera and often spots the first signs that something may be happening.

The cows and calves were turned out to grass pasture early April as the sheds were so warm from the spring sun. The calves are gleaming and beginning to fill out nicely. Thankfully once again the calving jack has had limited use with little need for intervention. My wish with any livestock is to allow nature to take the lead and enable a natural and stress free environment for birthing. Fingers crossed this continues and we enjoy many more sunny days.


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.