The people whose job it is to talk up farming and be optimistic when realism is needed have finally done farmers a service.
They have talked up the weather and supposed grass growth over the past month, so much that all their hot air has warmed up the ground and grass has finally started to grow.
I jest, of course, but there is a serious point here.
It does farmers no good to tell them grass is growing elsewhere, especially when it is not, and it undermines the credibility of those doing the telling.
But enough of that downbeat tone. This column is full of the joys of spring now that spring has finally arrived for good. It is not like that fake spring we had at the end of March.
Year in, year out, the same Facebook users suggest everything from burnt oil, to diesel, to holy water for orf
Grass is growing and so is everything else on the farm. Lambs are thriving, save the odd case of orf. And tempted as I am by the “cures” offered in a particular Facebook group, I will just keep an eye on any lambs that are infected.
Year in, year out, the same Facebook users suggest everything from burnt oil, to diesel, to holy water for orf.
Most of them are useless at best or dangerous at worst to young lambs’ mouths.
We do not get enough cases to warrant vaccination so I will stick to using an antiseptic spray on any one whose lips have broken out to prevent any secondary infection, and let the orf run its course.
Our yearling heifers are also flying and bulling away mad. While my experience is very limited in this regard, their out-wintering seems to have stood them in great stead. They are strip-grazing part of what was going to be a silage field, but with grass now growing well, they will move back to regular paddocks next week.
Our eldest group of calves was weaned off milk this week
An Angus bull has recently joined them to do the needful and he will be removed on 30 June.
Our eldest group of calves was weaned off milk this week too and 10 of them are out of the shed full-time now. With the cold weather in recent weeks, they had the option to go back into the shed at night.
Suffice to say, they did. But milder night-time temperatures mean they are out day and night, and the next group of 10 have moved on to the pre-weaning stage. There are really only about six weeks of whisking milk and watching them closely.
I am taking part in a trial-run of something called FarmerTime
The workload seems to drop off after that, but I still have a lot to learn to tighten up the calf-rearing enterprise.
The last bit of optimism then is the fact that I am taking part in a trial-run of something called FarmerTime. This is an initiative being run by Airfield Estate in Dublin which links farmers with primary schools via weekly Zoom calls.
The call lasts about 15 minutes and allows the children to ask questions about food production and farming throughout the seasons. That’s the theory. But the enthusiastic junior and senior infants I have been talking to do not let theory get in their way – they ask all sorts of random questions. My favourite so far was, “Do mammy cows really pee out their babies?”
The initiative is a credit to all involved and the honesty of the children is a breath of fresh air amidst all the bluster and hot air surrounding us in the modern farming world.