It’s All About the Kids

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I swear that I can see green in the fields this week.  Maybe I’ve got water on the brain but it looks like that stinky lil groundhog was actually right for a change and we may have a chance at an early spring this year.  This means less stress on our stock but more stress on the land.  This is the time that moving your animals to a barn or a sacrifice paddock makes the most sense as the mud this years is epic.  This is also the time most producers are lambing.  We are running some beginner ruminant classes this year here in Ulster County and the topic of when to lamb is sure to be a hot issue.  The answer that I have for this question that will undoubtedly trouble beginners but is generally understood by more seasoned producers, is that I do not know when you should lamb.  Every producer has different resources, goals, and customers that influence their production cycle. Some producers will use the spring flush to their advantage and lamb in the late spring.  Others, who are concerned with heavy worm loads, will choose to lamb in the winter time.  Each model has it’s pros and cons but the one factor that influences all of them is intensive management.  Attending classes at your local Cooperative office, keeping good records, and talking honestly about your issues with other producers will make you a better farmer and your production model more efficient.  Below is an link to the STAR management developed here at Cornell (high five) that aims to produce 5 lamb crops in 3 years.  It requires exactly what we mentioned above, intensive management and good record keeping.  If I sound like a broken record it is because it is important for producers to truly manage and keep records to be successful, and besides who wouldn’t want to spend as much time as possible with those little cotton balls?

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