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  • Writer's pictureWayne

Spring has sprung a little early

The pastures are kicking away like it is already Spring, even though it is only early August. Spring conditions in Narrikup (where Caluka Farms is) can extend into November, so pastures might be rather tall by the time of our October field day (invitation only for shareholders). Today we sold more skinny trade lambs we've been fattening up, but need many more to utilise the pastures and increase the cash flow while we build up our own ewe numbers. The non-wetting problems have been rectified and bit by bit I am learning what the pastures need in each hectare. A little more potassium was spread recently to correct this deficiency that was showing up in a few areas. The second lambing mob has about 3 weeks more to go, and the first lambing mob has about another 3-4 weeks before we wean all of their lambs. Our mob of weaners are growing fat like little pigs and because we don't have enough sheep at the moment, we are going to keep them a little longer until they are around 50kg live weight before putting onto a truck, instead of 42-45kg as first planned.

We had one interesting event a few days ago. A small mob of new very skinny trade lambs arrived last Tuesday, and on Friday morning, I noticed a new born dorper lamb. I couldn't figure out how it could possibly have come from our own lambing mobs because the mob nearest to the paddock where we put the skinnies had finished lambing a few weeks ago, and the other mob was many paddocks away. Then I noticed a tiny dorper ewe lamb in the paddock had after-birth hanging out of her, but had abandoned the lamb. She wouldn't be much more than 23-24kg liveweight, so how she got pregnant, and successfully gave birth I do not know. She is tiny, and skinny, with a flat udder and teats barely 5mm long. After a few days of putting her with the lamb in few square metre pen and giving frequent supplements to both of them, I am pleased to say mum and bub are doing much better and mum's udder is finally swelling. Hopefully we can put the bottle away in the next few days.

Another video is being worked on by my son and we hope to upload that here in the coming weeks. The farm has changed a lot, as many visitors have been witnessing, and hopefully you will see the progress in the video. The livestock agents are working hard to find us enough sheep to get to around 4,000 sheep on the 185ha that we aim to be at by the end of the year.

Next week we have some visitors from South Africa and then a few days later, some from Kenya, as well as the Aussie visitors we have each week.

550 now fatter trade lambs being moved to the yards in readiness for loading onto a truck in the morning.

The 550 trade lambs being loaded this morning. They aren't as skinny as they were when they first arrived here.

Our largest mob with lambs, and now have rams back in with them. Giving them a day in the raceway before moving them into their next paddock.

The paddock the largest mob with lambs were just moved into. The nutrition still isn't right yet, but the pastures are getting better.

Another angle of the paddock the largest lambing mob were just moved into. 1,020 sheep in this mob.

The view this morning from the yards back to the front of the property. The largest lambing mob are in the paddock around the shed in the distance.

A paddock I am pleased with so far. This is where the gutless sand seam begins from where the dogs are down to the trees in the middle of the photo. It was grazed two weeks ago.

Our smaller lambing mob that is currently lambing. This is the other end of the sand seam mentioned in the previous photo. Some capeweed issues I will attend to when possible - there is plantain underneath that we've sown, so can't spray graze with 2,4-D, and we don't have a boom, and no contractor wants to come and patch half an acre here and 1 acre there.

The smallest lambing mob. This is day five of them being in the paddock, so we are not getting it grazed down quick enough at the moment, and spring is around the corner.

One last photo to show the creek crossing to our back paddock (Hotel). A culvert will be built there one day when funds allow. In the meantime, because more rain is coming later tomorrow, we will tip a few bucket loads of dirt in the water to help the sheep come back over. That creek is the only access route to the paddock. There are 518 skinny trade lambs in there, with another 118 to join them tomorrow after quarantine, and hopefully another 1,000 if the agents can find some. Pastures are needing to be grazed every 24-30 days at the moment, and we don't have enough sheep to graze them down quick enough.

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