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Farmer Time: I am already smitten with the big screen

In this week’s Farmer’s Diary, Clodagh Hughes discusses Farmer Time, tupping, and making some hard but calculated decisions on her sheep farm.

Well, folks, I only had my first Farmer Time video call on Tuesday, and I am already smitten with the big screen!

I am not sure how long it will take before I get ‘discovered’, but, guys, I will never forget those who helped me get there…oh my goodness… what am I like?!

Maybe a sharp shot of reality is needed here, a wee reminder that I am still a poor, struggling (but quite content) small sheep farmer with my daily chores to carry out and two poorly lambs in the shed that need attending to.

Not to mention tackling one of my famous ‘jobs to do’ lists that are now the length of my leg, never mind my arm.

Farmer Time

Ah, but it is nice to dream…seriously though; I enjoyed our first video chat.

They are a lovely bunch of boys and girls from Craughwell National School in Co. Galway.

They were so professional; they put me to shame. Their teacher, Jessica, had them well prepared, and they asked me lots of interesting questions.

The 20 minutes flew by, and I am already looking forward to our next meeting.

Incidentally, I first came across this great initiative on our very own That’s Farming site here in an article editor/general manager, Catherina Cunnane, covered.

I feel the need to reiterate how useful and important a communications tool I have found social media forums and sites to be in the last couple of years.

Tupping

Ok, back to the farm. I will change my ram’s raddle crayon in a day or two as the ewe’s oestrus/heat cycle lasts approximately 17 days.

It is important I keep on top of any ewes that may repeat or, worse still, not ‘keep’ after service.

It is such a simple method of recording initial breeding activities.  I use a yellow crayon first, and then red, then green and finally blue if needed.

This works as each consecutive colour is darker than the last and shows up on the sheep’s fleece.  I still get the scanner in December.

Older ewes, tidying up hedges and Green Cert exams

I have a couple of older ewes who are beginning to slow down in terms of breeding, and I will have to make some hard but calculated decisions next year.

I am aware I make some of my farming experiences sound a bit precious, and no doubt certain farmers may wonder if she is a fool.

However, as I have said before, with the amount of time and emotional energy you invest in your animals and running afar, it can be tough when hard calls have to be made.

I have a man coming to face some hedges so that myself and himself can put up some sheep wire.

We only want to tidy up the hedges, and I aim to re-seed some paddocks next spring.

This would really improve grass performance on my farm and provide better quality grass for my sheep.

Finally, my Teagasc Green Cert course is motoring along fine; we have actual written exams coming up in November and December… EEEEEK!

Diary of a farmer

Read more of Clodagh’s diary entries.

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