On the arable side the unusually cold winter has caused more winter kill than usual. This is when the crops stop growing and deteriorate and sometimes die. Hopefully most of these crops will recover but we may have to re-drill some. On the good side the “Freeze Thaw” has broken up the plough making the ground very friable. This means it should be easy to make a good seedbed, ready to drill spring barley from the end of February and sugar beet from the 10th of March onwards, when it is dry enough.
All the crops will need fertiliser; we will use nitrogen, phosphate and potash from the end of February to early March depending on ground conditions and temperature. Other work in the winter includes ditching, fencing, machinery and building maintenance.
We had the first lambs on Tuesday the 17th of February they were not due until the 22th of February. David and I were walking our dog and we saw a newborn lamb standing at the bottom of the hill. We then saw its twin and its mum; who was stuck on her back. Sheep sometimes get stuck on their backs in dips and on hills. If they are not helped up again then they can die because methane builds up inside them.
We have had 8 calves so far this year, 2 of these were from a friendly cow that David and Josie have called Curly. They have called her twin calves Swirly and Whirly. We normally only name pedigree calves but Dad let David and Josie name Swirly and Whirly just for fun. All the cattle have their own unique number and Dad has to apply for a passport for them when they are born.
David (my brother) and I have recently hatched some quail chicks. They are now about 3 weeks old. They are still under a heat lamp because it is so cold at the moment and should start laying when they are 6-8 weeks old. We hatch the quail at this time of year so they will be in full egg production in time for the spring and summer when we sell more eggs.