By the barn january 2018
Posted: 6th Jan 2018
Another year gone and the start of 2018 and the cycle of farming continues amidst political uncertainty!
This month will see us moving our sheep round more often, making use of what little grass is growing. Ewes out in the field are checked to see that they are not suffering with the winter weather and may be supplementary fed if need be. Although they won’t be lambing until March, we don’t want them to get too fat, nor do we want them to become too thin.
If we haven’t sold all of our own bred lambs by now, then we will be checking on their progress by weighing and feeling them, to see if they are fit enough to go to market. This is called ‘finishing’ them. Our store lambs (ones we bought in from some other farmer) should be getting ready too and, hopefully, when they go to market, they will make more than they cost- enough to pay for their keep over the last few months.
Our cattle are in and have been for a while, the oldest calves separated from their mothers and, although they called for a couple of days, they are used to being with their peer group and have been split into males and females and bigger and smaller size, to make it easier to feed appropriately. Dairy cattle have been inside for longer and milk production will have tailed off somewhat. As they are highly productive animals, they are treated with extreme consideration.
Cattle Health schemes are a vital part of dairy farming and great reductions in the use of antibiotics has been made (in all sectors of farming). A fall of 27% in the sale of farm use antibiotics has meant we have achieved our target two years ahead of schedule.
The fields have been sown and we have to sit and wait to see how they perform. The agronomist will walk in them occasionally to check what pests and disease are showing signs and then will recommend a plan, which we may or may not follow!
The foxes will be mating and this upsets Ted as they call to each other at night, the young cubs appearing later in spring and scent is strong as we walk down the farm drive and pass through where they have travelled across in their nightly excursions.
Posted by: Angela