Hi everyone. My delays in posting have continued for the same reasons as previously - some important financial events for Caluka Farms are about to happen, but the delays continue. So to keep going without financial support, we have been culling ewes and our worst ewe lambs as well as the wethers. We have not been able to fertilise as needed and the pastures were very tight for months.
As of the end of October 2021, we have received 910mm of rain. Our paddocks are still waterlogged over large areas, but finally the rain is easing and the sunlight is increasing. Temperatures are still cool for this time of year.
Currently we have ~4,100 sheep on the property (185ha) with a few hundred more lambs about to be born - the last for the year. The plan was by the end of October, to have our best rams joined with our new selected mob of ewes we are calling the cleanskins. These are the ewes that are full shedding, and are of sound structure. Unfortunately, I've just had shoulder surgery, our workman has had to take a few weeks off with an infection, our Clipex unit is out of action, and the mob of older ewes we put the "cleanskins" into temporarily after weaning their lambs off them, are in a mob that have ewes lambing again - which was not planned and we have some investigation to do to work out how this happened. We are not bringing them into the yards to draft out while some ewes are lambing. So we will be 2-3 weeks late joining the rams with those cleanskins than planned.
The plan is also to put all the rest of our rams in with the rest of the mixed aged ewes in mid-November, which should be able to proceed on time. The plan was to have the lambs from our best rams and ewes be born in late March to mid April 2022. That will now be April to early May, the same as the rest of the ewes.
Then as soon as the lambs have been born, to have the rams back in with the ewes to produce another batch of lambs in September/October 2022. By mid-October 2022, we should be at our target of 5,500 ewes on the property (even though ~1,500 of them will be only weeks old). This has been our target to then produce ~9,000 lambs/12 months (even more when we have Katahdin genetics). You can all do the maths to see we will soon be very profitable.
We have some very kind shareholders who loaned us some funds to be able to keep more ewes on the farm and apply some fertiliser. As you can see in the photos below, it has made a huge difference. Our pastures had been waterlogged, starving, and for many months suffering from low sunlight. They would not have suffered if they had been well fed. What has happened to our pastures this year should never happen again. We will soon be fully funded and pastures will not be allowed to be hungry at any stage. Pastures first, sheep second. We could not carry the maximum number of livestock if we did not grow the pastures to feed them.