Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

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Thanks Kiran.  We saw LED floodlights on screwfix but thought they might be too bright, so your info is useful.  Will look at them again for the tunnel.  :idea: ;D
Goats / Re: Deep littering
« Last post by steve_pr on Today at 12:26:39 am »
We start out with straw, which the goats then proceed to eat with great relish, then pull the hay we provide as food out of the feeders and spread it all over the floor!  So you end up with a mixture whatever you do.  Given the price of straw this season (outrageous over here in West Wales) using hay makes more sense actually!!!

Whatever you use, it is damn hard work digging it out in a couple of months time!!!
We've had reasonable success with solar LED flood lights, I think they came from LED hut. Anything else solar that we have tried that is solar doesnt really have enough power to provide anything more than enough light to see a path and certainly not enough to work by.
Land Management / Re: Willow in a stock-fenced hedgerow?
« Last post by steve_pr on Today at 12:14:44 am »
We started planting willow as a hedge/windbreak/feed source a couple of years ago.  Here in West Wales it is both windy and wet and they seem to be thriving rather than just sirving. A few striggle when our Herdwicks really attack them )especially when they jump the stock fence and binge on the shoots) but we have taken to cutting the stems back and planting the new shoots to replace the damaged ones. Also helps to thicken out the base.  Come the summer we chop the tops and feed them to our Angora hoats who go absolutely crazy for them.

We have planted three rows between stock fence and it is generally OK. Last year added a few hazel, silver birch and hornbeam to add variety. The hazel is growing slowly (the herdwick eat it faster than it grows!!!) but the hornbeam seems to be doing OK.

As for variety we opted for hybrid willow sticks (60cm) from Bowhayes Trees which were a reasonable price, although we are now self sufficient in replacement whips to plant.

We could have applied for a grant for the planting but as always seems the case, the terms and conditions made it not worth the effort. A 1m gap between the trees and the fence would lose too much valuable field space, we can tolerate a certain amount of browsing, but mainly they wanted high percentages of blackthorn which was exactly what we were trying to get away from. Spend most of our time getting rid of blackthorn (and barbed wire) and have the scars to prove it - hate the stuff!!!

Willow may not be the most diverse hedgerow (although apparently it supports a lot of critters!) but it grows really fast (6-8ft in the first year and then starts thicken out as you cut back) and we also have about 3 acres of ancient wet woodland (including 300 year old oaks) and another 1.5 acres of mixed deciduous woodland we planted when we first moved in (now pushing 15-30feet high after 8 years) so I can live with my conscience on this one.

The winter nights have made us see that we really do need to have lights in our polytunnel (21' x 42') and garden shed (about 10'x12') for doing stuff at night - the whole tunnel would not need to be lit, just the section being worked on).  Does anyone have any suggestions for off-the-peg solar systems, which give a good light, for either please.  We do have an electric cable layed for some outbuildings, but for the tunnel and shed use would be intermittent so no point going to the expense of laying another power cable.
Renewables / Re: Rethinking cost/benefits of solar and domestic batteries
« Last post by steve_pr on November 26, 2020, 11:55:52 pm »
Well, very difficult to forecast in advance given the variables, but even ignoring increases in electricity costs and the rise in the FIT payments in the coming years, I reckon we should be in the clear within about 7 years, a few years inside the warranty period for the Powerwall.

At the end of the day, these things are an act of faith rather than a solid financial certainty, but the sale of the generator and the peace of mind from being covered for power outages (at least to an extent) is also worth something. Ultimately it was a case of invest whilst I was still working and enjoy the benefits in reduced costs now I am retired.
Sheep / Re: Ram lamb very bad sours
« Last post by Twotwo on November 26, 2020, 08:30:46 pm »
Sadly but not unexpected the lamb has died. My questions - to myself- are should I have penned him up and talked to the vet earlier (probably) / not given him any yogurt /got another F E C done rather than worming him ... but I had the drench already .... etc etc
I will get F E C done on the other lambs - although they have been separate. They were all wormed 8 weeks ago following a F E C and there was no sign of coccidiosis or fluke, with a low worm count, Nematodirus where present but not in high numbers (neither coccidiosis or fluke have been seen on our land and we have had livers from older sheep with no sign of fluke).

Cattle / Re: Cattle Wormer advice
« Last post by YorkshireLass on November 26, 2020, 08:25:47 pm »
Yep, speak to your vet, they will know if there is resistance locally to certain treatments. Only treat for what is a problem - all-in-one products are driving resistance when used to solve a single problem.

Out if interest, what makes you think worms rather than e.g. pneumonia?
Sheep / Re: Johne's disease?
« Last post by SallyintNorth on November 26, 2020, 07:41:59 pm »
So, the blood test was negative, much to the vet's surprise.  Even though the test has a very high false negative rate, the vet had thought that because the ewe showed clinical symptoms, it was more likely that the blood would come back positive.

We had the abattoir vet do a PM and they found nothing.  Not the characteristic thickening of the ileum - which again, absence doesn't mean it's not Johnes but presence is diagnostic - but she also found no other problems which could explain the symptoms : no tumours, enlarged organs, nothing.

So, because we really want to know, of course, for knowing what if any management we need to do with our younger sheep and our new young cows, we had collected some faeces before we sent her off, so that we could have a faecal test if the abattoir PM was not informative.

The lab had said that in the circs - presenting clinically, serology negative, PM negative - they thought that the much quicker PCR faecal test would be accurate enough, and that if it also came back negative, then we could be pretty certain that it wasn't Johnes.  So that's been done and was negative.

Which is great news for the rest of the flock and the young cows, and it means I can relax my mental gymnastics working out who can safely graze where and when, what piles of pony poo are safe to be spread back on the fields, etc, and means anyone can graze anywhere over winter and next spring, which is a great relief.

But as to what was going on with Gwenneth...  we will never know.  We can keep her good daughter on, but it's very sad, she was a good sheep and the last pure Zwartbles here. 

Sheep / Re: Ram lamb very bad sours
« Last post by twizzel on November 26, 2020, 05:18:58 pm »
Has the vet tested a sample of poo for worms and cocci? If he was wormed you could have wormer resistance if there are still worm eggs present so I’d do a sample ASAP.

If his rumen has stopped working that’s bad news and he might be past saving. If the vet is well regarded then follow their advice as they’ve seen the animal

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