Spring has finally arrived, meaning the cattle can be turned out. Normally the cows are turned out to grass for a few weeks and then the bull is introduced to the herd. However with the late arrival of spring the bull has been put out to grass at the same time as the cows so that calving will start in February 2014. The British Blue bull- Kersey Ebony- is the result of many years of selective breeding and we believe he is the best bull we have produced so far! Cattle numbers are at a peak of 190 for the year because we are reaching the end of calving, have just bought 10 replacement heifers to enter the breeding herd and have not sold many of last years’ calves yet. We will begin selling these cattle in the next few weeks. The late spring has meant the grass has not been growing very quickly this may cause a shortage of grass for silage which is normally cut in early June.
Lambing has finished, 180 lambs were born from 105 ewes, giving an average of 1.7 lambs per ewe. The ewes and lambs have now been turned out to grass. The best few shearling rams and ewes have been shorn so their wool will regrow in time to look smart for the showing season which begins for us on the 18th of May at the Hadleigh Show. As well as showing Suffolk Sheep, my older sister Alice plans to show a Belgian Blue cow and a bull.
All the drilling has now been completed, including the headlands that were previously too wet to drill. Preparation was completed on the land to be drilled with sugar beet and the beet was drilled. Due to the late, cold spring all the crops are about 3 weeks behind where they should be in terms of growth and development. The oilseed rape is undergoing large amounts of pigeon damage and has until this warmer weather been struggling to move on at all. With the constantly damp weather since the autumn the plants have not had to grow roots to search for moisture. This means that their root systems are probably underdeveloped, if we experience a dry spell now the crops could struggle.
The quail business is still going strong; we recently sold our 100,000th egg!