Lambing & Calving
The March lambing has proceeded quickly without any sign of the dreaded Schmallenberg Virus. We have had 130 lambs, averaging approx. 1.5 lambs per ewe. The early spring has allowed us to turn them out onto the fresh spring grass earlier than usual. After a difficult start calving has gone reasonably well with the exception of one case of Schmallenberg. Unfortunately the calf had to be delivered by caesarean and was not viable when it was born.
The spring barley land was cultivated and drilled in late February and all land for sugarbeet was cultivated and has now been drilled. The sugarbeet seeds are drilled at a depth of 1.5 inches. The seedbed is great at the moment and there is adequate moisture at 1.5 inches but it is very dry on the surface. The spring barley has geminated and emerged well and we expect it and the sugar beet to have good potential (rain permitting of course!). The first fertiliser application of winter crops and the oilseed rape has now been completed. We are of course hoping for rain in the future as we are facing a huge deficit in rainfall.
We have planted a new wood called Thurlows which will be visible from the footpath. It is about 1 and a half acres and contains around 1000 trees of various species including those of: Oak, Beech, Holly, Nut, Maple, Hawthorn, Laurel, Privet and a small number of Larch and Norway Spruce.
As my Granddad used to say: “Live like you are going to die tomorrow, farm like you are going to live forever.” We have also planted over 600m of new hedgerows based on Hawthorn with a smattering of other native species such as maple, nut and dogwood.
All the grass land has received an application of fertiliser to help it get a good start in the spring. We have been working through coppicing some hedges so that we can access the ditches next to them. We cut the hedge off near ground level and they will quickly grow back stronger and healthier than before. While the hedges are low we take the opportunity to dig out the ditches so that water can flow easily and prevent the build-up of silt.