Karyn McCarthur

1st April 2022


On arrival home from our first NSA Next Generation Ambassadors session with a head full of brilliant new ideas and inspiration, I was greeted with waggy tails, full lambing pens and heavy snow!

Nearly 120 recipient ewes were due from two batches, the first batch was due the weekend before I left for the session and the latter due a few days after I arrived home, although they had been coming thick and fast on my few days away! This allowed me to get straight to work applying some of the great ideas and advice gathered from both vet Phillipa Page and other ambassadors on the programme during the session including more frequent use of the refractometer and multiple infection control ideas.

I went straight onto nightshift which left me plenty time during the day to train my young sheepdog, over the last month he has been coming on well, we did have an off week, but this seems to have turned back around!

Last night I sat down to my first training session funded by Lantra’s Women in Agriculture Practical Training fund which was a group zoom call with Julie Hill (Neth Hill border collies/The natural way Training), during the call Julie analysed all our videos of our young dogs working and gave us pointers where we were going wrong, mainly based on what the dogs are picking up from our body language! I have a few main pointers to go and work on before the next call and I am excited to apply these!

It has been a busy 10 days up North as we have been vaccinating all our lambs for clostridial diseases and Pasteurella before turning out to the fields! Its nice to see some of the sheds emptier (and much quieter!) and lots of happy lambs out roaming free!

Last week also brought us International Women’s Day 2022, the theme being Gender equality for a sustainable tomorrow (something quite relevant within agriculture right now!) I was approached by British Wool, along with fellow female ambassadors to be included in their blog, it was lovely to see so many wonderful ladies being celebrated for their hard work both out with and within the industry!

On a less work-related topic I finished this busy month with a long-awaited trip (thanks to covid-19!) to Glasgow to see Luke Combs at Country2Country! It was a fantastic night and a well-earned break from the busy months of lambing! It also allowed me a day or two at our home farm where I got to see my first Crossing type Bluefaced Leicester’s born of 2022, my most awaited moment of each year! We are now slightly rested and ready for the next batch of Texel embryos due to start this weekend!


As April comes to a close, the end of lambing 2022 is in sight! The past month has seen the cross ewes lambing outdoors; my favourite type of lambing work! The weather during the first week was a bit ropey as we had lambs dropping along with hailstones the size of garden peas, but thankfully the showers never lasted long and the dry spells in between gave the lambs a chance to spring into action! Our Suffolk cross ewes were in lamb to the Aberfield, and our Llyen and Cheviot mules to a Suffolk hoping to provide us with some large, maternal recipient females for the embryo lambs in the years to come!

This week I have been down at my home farm lambing our mule and blackface flocks, the weather has made it a pleasure and it feels like spring has eventually sprung!

Last week I got a day away from the lambing shed to sort through this year’s crop of Innovis rams, we MOT'd the ram lambs at our ram grower, Emily Grant’s farm near Perth; the MOT’s include checking teeth, testicles and foot structure, this will be done again over the conveyer in May.

Apart from this day out most days have been much the same! Sheep, gym, dog training, eat, sleep, repeat! I have had a further two zoom sessions with Julie Hill and I feel like Glen is coming on leaps and bounds! (Probably more bounds as he’s not the most agile dog in the world at times!)

I did have a little spare time between lambing batches where I decided to renovate an old chicken coop and hatch a few chicks! This has been interesting and I was, to describe it best, like a small child at Christmas on hatching day!