The Sheep Farmer - Make Your Grass Worth Eating

One hundred years ago there were no boluses, anthelmintics, or ad-lib minerals and very few pharmaceutical products, generally speaking. There was as yet little need for these products, for the soil was fertile and brimful of all the necessary minerals and trace minerals vital for plants and animals alike. The veterinary profession relied on their skills and knowledge and a handful of basic drugs. The land was managed in time-honoured and sustainable ways; crop rotation and FYM were the cornerstones of land management.
The rising population and two world wars changed everything, as the demand for increased production became the only priority. Since then the emphasis has been on production intensity and quantity and quality has taken a back seat.

The use of synthetic Nitrogen was greatly encouraged by the post-war government by the granting of large subsidies. Once everyone had become “hooked” on this seductive new system, the subsidies were removed. Unfortunately, intensification has had a dire effect on soil mineral levels, in that minerals are stripped out of the soil at a far greater rate than can be replaced by the natural weathering of soil particles. Soil trace mineral content has now fallen to one quarter of the level present just one hundred years ago – and is still falling! As every cell of every living organism requires the presence of these trace elements in its structure, we can see why so many plants, animals and humans are so sickly (and why the demands on the NHS are so massive). We humans are at the top of a sickly food chain and, as they say, “you are what you eat”.

The typical sheep farmer in many parts of the world, not just the UK, finds life harder every year. The typical comments are, “they just don’t do as well as they used to. Lambs take longer to finish and need much more creep. Fertility is fragile and you have to cull out far more. Their feet are a nightmare and we are plagued with orf, pasteurella and runty, scouring lambs, even though we worm them every 4 weeks.”

Consequently, the input costs of sheep farming have risen sharply at a time when returns have been low.

The answer is simple, logical and cost-effective. Minerally impoverished soils are the problem, so re-mineralising the soil is the solution. Good soil with the correct balance of minerals, produces top quality grass, which when grazed by sheep, produces strong, healthy sheep and lambs. It really is that simple!

In order to discover the status of the existing soil, Field Science will conduct a comprehensive soil analysis and, at the same time as the samples are taken, use a scientific questionnaire to establish the historical uses and problems associated with the land in question. When the results of the laboratory tests are received, we use the information from these and the collected data to formulate a tailor made mineral dressing, which will re-balance the soil for two to three years, depending on soil type and management.

Where significant deficiencies and imbalances are found, the effects of re-balancing are very dramatic. Fertile rams and fecund ewes produce plentiful, vigorous lambs. These are given a kick-start on top-quality mother’s milk and grow on apace after weaning, often without any creep. Early to market adds to the bottom line!