The days are stretching, which is very welcoming, but so to is our workload with lambing and sowing rapidly approaching.

Throughout February we have been busy with seed dressing, making a start with ploughing, vaccinating ewes, moving electric fences on cover crops and getting the last of the lambs away.

We still have more than 400 acres of ploughing to do, so hopefully will get a big push on at that in the coming weeks. Dad is adamant he is not sowing in March this year after being caught out two years in a row, when the weather turned extremely wet and cold at the start of April leading to poor establishment in headlands.

With our average field size being around 12 acres we have a lot of acres in headlands, so want to reduce the risk of losing yield in these areas by drilling when the weather has improved, though with the weather as unpredictable as it is, it is difficult to know what is the right thing to do.

All we can do is try to get it right based on what the trend over the past few years has been. Weather permitting, we will hopefully be getting potash and the first nitrogen applications onto winter crops this week.

The last of the fat lambs left on February 7, and I put the 12 stragglers to the store sale the same day. I was glad to see the back of them with the fat price being less than exciting this year compared to last.

I was pleasantly surprised when these stragglers made £69 per head, considering the fat price had been back that week. I was especially pleased about this as I’d had a poorly lamb in the field, caught him and carried him over my shoulders 400m to the gate, got him home, only for dad to tell me the best thing to do would be to humanely dispatch of him.

A little bit of medical attention, TLC and four weeks living in a stable with no competition at the feeder and back to full health – no better feeling than proving the old man wrong!

We have just moved the twin-bearing ewes back onto our own cover crop so they are closer to home and therefore the lambing sheds meaning that they don’t need to be floated again, so close to lambing.

The radish crop the ewes are on now has been drilled prior to a crop of carrots going in this spring. Hopefully the radish has a bio-fumigant effect to help reduce carrot nibbling nematodes in the soil, but it is not very palatable to sheep so from now, until lambing, they’ll just get silage, along with ewe rolls, and will have access to Lifeline buckets.

Twin and single-bearing ewes have been shifted three times onto fresh cover crops since scanning on January 23, and in that time the 213 ewes, with an average bodyweight around 70-80kg, have only eaten eight bales of silage, and maintained body condition scores at 3s and 4s, so this has definitely helped reduce feed usage.

We have however had to invest in more fencing materials, and it has taken a lot of time and labour putting the fences up and taking them down, so it is definitely not the system for everyone. It will however, hopefully have improved my fitness meaning I can catch said 80kg ewes in the lambing shed no bother when the time comes!