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By the barn February 21

Posted: 8th Feb 2021

                        # ‘My grandfather said to me
                         As we sat on the wagon seat
                      “Be sure to remember to always
                       Speak to everyone you meet”.
                         Elizabeth Bishop

So, going into the year ahead, what are our main concerns for the farm?

I hope that, amidst the Coronavirus problems, our government sees fit to support us with regard to consumption of our produce and to remain steadfast when it comes to upholding our standards.

We will see financial farm support start to reduce from this year anyway and if the market holds up for our produce then that’s fine, but if there is the ever increasing run for lower prices then that becomes a problem.

Luckily a deal with the EU was obtained but it will be quite a while before we see the effects, at least we have no barriers to trade.

I would like benevolent weather ( and seasonal at that) so that crops and grass aren’t put under any stresses and consequently, a good harvest.

Ideally I’d like all our ewes to have two strong lambs and plenty of milk to feed them with, so we don’t have extra work and strong demand in the market too!

All this would also benefit the environment around us , what some might call a ‘win/win’. On farm, our winter calving cattle have given birth, with just a couple to go. With very little intervention from us ( apart from one big lad who decided he was coming backwards), we have to dehorn, tag and castrate before they get too big to handle.

They, along with the other cattle, are still inside, but Spring is just around the corner, as we are at the half way point between the shortest day and the spring solstice- candlemas.

Because the cattle are in the sheds, there is more of a chance of picking up a bug- it is much more healthy for them to be outside, as they are in summer. But we have to consider their welfare ( if it is wet/ cold) and also look after the state of the ground.

Antibiotic usage in UK agriculture has been reduced dramatically over the last couple of years through various improvements and the aim is to reduce even further. We only use them here under veterinary direction and as a last resort.

The ewes are grazing out still and are quite insulated against snow and frost with their thick fleeces, which have regrown after summer shearing. They can usually find food no matter what the weather and have a metabolism which can utilise rough pasture. As they’re not due to lamb for a couple more months, they are not under any physical demands yet, but will be supplementary fed as they get closer to lambing.

We still have a number of last years lambs, which have ‘stood still’ ( not put any more weight on) because of the weather but we have started giving them some corn to help them ‘finish’ for market and Ted has regular work rounding them up to bring them in for weighing and then taking them back out.

I have posted a number of short videos on Instagram/Twitter, showing some of what we do. If interested take a look-@bythebarn Baldfields Farm in the Snow

Posted by: Angela
Categories: Farming

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