Kevin Carey farms a lowland Mule flock and a Mayo Mountain hill flock on the Belmullet Peninsula.
The fourth-generation farmer sells lamb direct under Atlantic Erris Lamb. His farm consists of a mix of very good quality and average quality green land, some mountain grazing, Island grazing on the nearby Iniskea Islands and some forestry.
Winter has come in with a bang here. The wind is howling most nights, and most average quality ground is saturated. It seems earlier than most winters, and it might be a long one ahead, with Trump dragging things out too.
Watching CNN has passed some of the wintery nights; hopefully, the Mayo man gets into the Whitehouse soon for all our sakes. Even the Christmas tree is up here earlier than ever before.
On the farm, I have taken Hampshire Down rams, and the New Zealand Suffolk ram away from Mule ewes.
90% mated in the opening 14 days means a busy lambing, which suits here. A tight lambing works for me with a full-time off-farm job, and the use of a teaser ram helps with this.
I gave ewes a fluke dose and mineral boluses and moved them onto rough ground for the winter. They will be supplemented on this with silage when required accompanied by Crystalyx buckets to help with rumen health and mineral intake.
The Blue Leicester rams are with the mountain ewes now 14 days. These are mated on sheltered green fields, and these ewes will be moved to the mountain for the winter once mated.
These mountain ewes will produce our mule replacements and going by the weather; the blues will be moved to the shed for some care once they have completed their tasks.
Hampshire Down rams and machinery
I have been very impressed with what I have seen from the newly purchased Hampshire Down rams. They are brought in purely from a terminal lamb perspective, and according to results elsewhere, their performance on grass only is extremely impressive.
They also have a lot of wool cover which should help lambs in springtime. I am selling most of my lamb direct primarily off grass and crops all year. Therefore, I am eager to see how there lambs go next year.
All the machinery has been power washed down. I topped any weeds in the last month. Hopefully, some frost will kill them as I have seen little results from spot spraying in recent years.
I intend on painting machinery over the winter here with Oxide paint. Rust here is a significant issue, and a good lick of paint is the lasting of gear here.
Recording winter covers and a new meal snacker
Attention now turns to recording winter covers of grass through Pasture Base; we record grass monthly. 85% of land is closed up for spring grass, and we are ignoring any urges to graze these nice green covers which is strongly advised.
I purchased a meal snacker which I have tried out on the quad a few times. This will help to supplement the ewes at springtime and should prevent a few accidents running with nuts to troughs ahead of the ewes.
Replacement ewe lambs are gone on to some mountain ground to get trained on the electric fence before heading for larger mountain ground for the winter.
I find the use of electric fences great; I purchased a Gallagher Smart Fence, which is a fantastic tool for splitting fields and also training sheep on electric fence.
On mountain and rough ground, we are keeping ewes curtailed with two or three lines with a solar fence which has been a great help to grazing rough and mountain grounds.
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