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By the barn - May 2014

Posted: 25th Apr 2014

Farmers are busy now finishing fertilising, rolling, sowing, lambing, calving and may be starting to silage

Grass grows particularly well at this time of year(as anyone with a lawn knows) and is also at its most nutritious.

But livestock can't necessarily make the most of it, so, to prevent it going to waste, we mow it and preserve it for winter feeding, when grass isn't growing and we might otherwise be short-just like we freeze or pickle excess fruit and veg.

Growing crops will be kept an eye on for attacks from pests or disease and treated accordingly-that is the job of an agronomist. Of course, if weather conditions don't allow or farmer thinks it's not economical/ practical to follow that advice, he doesn't have to.

Lambs going out into fields should be growing and thriving but there are often one or two that don't for whatever reason-might be they just didn't get enough colostrum at birth to boost their immune systems and sometimes they have to be brought back to the sheds for some tlc, preferably with their mums and siblings ( that's why numbering is so useful).

One or two of our cows will be calving and as there are less of those(than sheep) and being worth more-they will have a very close eye kept on them. Having been bred on farm, we know their habits well and will spot when the time is coming-but they are all outside now which presents different problems. Though we consider it healthier for them, getting them back inside if a problem presents itself(especially at night when they are in discomfort, don't want to leave the herd and particularly don't want us around) can be tricky and it can be dangerous too! The mothering instinct makes her very aggressive if she perceives a threat to her calf-no matter how quiet she normally might be-certainly towards dogs (wolves?) and ours have learnt to keep well away!

Last month we again tested clear of tb and at the same time took advantage of the vets presence to blood test a young cow which had recently aborted and to remove the horns on one of last years calves-somehow got missed when we castrate and dehorn as young calves or maybe the horns weren't present. It involved anaesthetising the horn area and then using what resembles a cheesewire to saw them off. It involved lots of spurting blood and a broken halter until the residue was cauterised, but apart from not wanting to be restrained the steer was quite unconcerned.

Fruit trees are blossoming, feeding the multiplying insects and our Bees and other pollinators, which, in turn, provides food for insect eating birds and Bats. Hopefully our new orchard trees have all taken and will be flowering too!

Lots of promise for the year in the spring air!

Posted by: Angela
Categories: Farming

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