We are very tight for grass at the moment.
This is for two reasons one it has been a dry summer the other is we live in an area with a bit of a microclimate due to what we term around here as “The mountain splitting the clouds”. There is a wonderful mountain to our South West in County Tipperary called Slievenamon. When the weather is coming from her direction she splits the clouds giving us a dry pocket while all around us, only 2 miles or less to our East or West, gets a soaking. In winter we sometimes have no snow where as all around us gets loads. Today the rain was to be coming from the West but Slievenamon’s sister hills just to the North of her pushed the rain North and South of us. So once more stuck in a dry pocket waiting for moisture to fall from the sky.
Today as I write this all around us is getting rain but we are only getting a dampening of the ground, which is not enough to water in the fertilizer I put onto the fields about two weeks ago.
Most years this would not have been a problem but this year when I put the ewes into what had been a field with good grass cover which should have lasted easily three weeks, the rain never came though the TV weatherman said it was & the online rain radar maps. We needed the rain both for our winter grass growth or winter grass bank and to give the fertilizer time to be absorbed into the ground. Once the fertilizer has been absorbed into the ground you can let the stock back into the fields. When it has not melted into the ground a sheep can unintentionally eat the granules which would not be good. So I am face with having to feed the ewes some of my winter fodder supply until we get the rain to melt the fertilizer into the soil.
I’ve been told by some on twitterland that I must be over stocked, but they didn’t know the full circumstances and once explained I think understood. I’m sure as soon as we get a bit of rain I will not need to feed hay as fields can be opened for the sheep to find plenty of grass. If anything it is my miss management of trusting the weather to do what they say it will do on the internet and television, forgetting about our unique weather system in Slievenamon’s shadow.
The ram lambs are fine they have loads of grass and are munching away on a grass only diet.