THE annual delight of the lambing season is being marred for Holbeach Hurn sheep breeders Richard and Jane Thompson by a new threat to livestock.
It’s still the early stages of lambing at Grove Farm, which has a 650-strong flock of Charollais Lleyn cross sheep, a commercial flock sold for meat.
So far there are no signs of the Schmallenberg virus which causes birth defects and miscarriages in livestock, but Jane says: “It’s a concern. We haven’t seen any sign of it yet, but we have a long way to go.
“It’s in Norfolk so not far away. It’s a worry.”
Lambing in earnest kicked off just over a week ago, with the couple taking it in turns on the night shift with shepherd Steve Congreve.
The ewes were scanned on the farm for the first time this year and the sheep placed into yards depending on how many lambs they were carrying so that feeding could be adjusted accordingly.
“In an ideal world it averages out at two per ewe, but it doesn’t usually work out quite like that,” said Jane.
Grove Farm is also an arable farm, growing potatoes, wheat, sugar beet and peas.