By Graeme Mather

As we move towards the end of the year and 2020 fast approaches, we look to what the future has in store for our cattle and sheep.

We have scanned all our Johnes tested cows that reared a calf last year and are happy with the results so far as they scanned at 94% while the group of 34 Angus and Simmental cross heifers, that were running with a 17-month-old Angus bull scanned at 100%.

All of these in-calf females will receive a Bovela and Leptavoid H booster vaccination and will be treated with Fasinex 240 for fluke.

Meanwhile, our spring-calving cows have been brought inside from strip grazing turnips and fodder beet a little earlier than hoped due to the saturated ground conditions, and wet, muddy surfaces, which have only worsened this week.

We are working through our 2018 calf crop which are still being finished off the farm albeit at a lower price than we’d like, but needs must when we have to allow space for the next crop coming through. Trying to reduce costs while maintaining the quality within our cattle and remaining sustainable is an ongoing puzzle.

Our prime lambs are, nevertheless, continuing to fatten nicely and are selected on a weekly basis for Forfar Market. Considering the harsh, wet weather, they are doing well on grass, stubble turnips and forage rape or stubble turnips after winter barley.

Every year blends in with the next and as we look to selling the last of the fat lambs we also look to our next lambing. Ewes and ewe lambs retained for breeding have all been with the tup and appear to have been marked positively with crayons. Tups were removed on November 29 and can now enjoy a well-earned rest grazing on a small field of Italian ryerass, which should ensure they pick up strength and condition.

Fluke can be a problem here and we have been actively monitoring to try to combat it within our flock by taking single dung samples from our small batches of ewes and two samples from the larger batches. So far, only one fluke egg has been found but we also aim to take more samples early January when the ewes are scanned.

Depending on the results, we will then only have to treat those in lamb as the empty ewes will be culled without the concern of the withdrawal period from the medication.