Saturday, December 9, 2023
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HomeFarming NewsDiary: Making hay while the sun shines
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Diary: Making hay while the sun shines

In this week’s Farmer’s Diary, sheep farmer, Clodagh Hughes discusses making hay for the first time and a ewe with maggots. 

There are lots of old sayings originating from the farming world that are frequently used in daily life, and one that is resonating with a lot of farming folk this week is “make hay while the sun shines!”.

It is an expression that “does exactly what it says on the tin”. Seize the opportunity to achieve something positive whilst you can…Carpe Diem if you are posh!

The weather has finally realised it is supposed to be summer here in Ireland and has recently graced us with warm breezes and extended dry spells.

These are all perfect conditions for saving hay, although we could be doing with a tad more sunshine as the cloud cover seems to be reluctant to scatter.

All I need now is to get my grass mown and turned until it is nicely ‘seasoned’ and baled, stacked, and saved.

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This will be my first year saving hay, and, to tell you the truth, I am quite excited about it.  Any non-agricultural folks reading this need to know that we farmers get very worked up about some unusual and strange things.

We are obsessed with the weather (in case you have not noticed). We are known to talk relentlessly about livestock mart prices and animal husbandry, using words that even the top human medical doctors would be impressed with.

But, it is a great community to be involved with, and as long as someone is willing to listen to us, we are happy farmers.

Although, it is important to realise, that when the listener’s eyes start to glaze over, it may be time to change the subject.


I mentioned last week that there had not been any dramas to report on.

Well, yesterday, while over the field on a routine check, I observed a ewe lying down, not unusual, I hear you say!

Not unusual at all, except for the fact that I had noticed the same ewe lying down the day before while the rest were up grazing. I put it down to the fact that she had been a little lame recently and was just resting.

For whatever reason, yesterday, I decided to try and get near her and the fact that she let me set off alarm bells. This ewe would be a bit wild normally.

When I was quite close to her, I got a pungent odour coming from a large patch of wool around her shoulder area. Maggots.

I got back to the yard as quick as I could to set up a pen then, back over the fields to gather the sheep in.

Lads! When I say, this poor sheep was fly struck…I kept apologising to the poor girl, as I clipped her wool off, for not detecting her distress sooner.

She actually stood for me to clip her. She was so poorly; remember I said she was a wild one?                                                                                                                                     The relief must have been amazing for her; I bathed the wounds and applied healing spray.

She is going to need a few days to recover, and I am keeping a close eye on her.

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