As covered previously we occasionally do some embryo transfer work with our pedigree cattle to bring in new, superior bloodlines or to improve existing ones. We recently implanted 6 pedigree British Blue embryos into crossbred recipient mothers. Two of these embryos were purchased from a high quality show winning cow at considerable expense. The other 4 came from our best cow – Kersey Domino. If the embryos result in pregnancies, the calves born in 9 months’ time will contain no genetic information from the birth mother, only that of the donor cow and bull.
The early group of ewes have lambed successfully, these early lambs will have longer to grow so will be bigger in time for the showing season. The mild winter has meant the ewes due to lamb in March have had plenty of grass, they will be brought in at the beginning of March. The wet weather has, however, made accessing the sheep hard work as the ground is so wet. The yearling rams have been brought in earlier than usual as they were poaching (stamping up) the meadow. We have also sold 10 in-lamb ewes to some farmers, starting a pedigree Suffolk flock of their own.
Jess the sheepdog has been growing very quickly, although she is only 10 months old she is already bigger (and fluffier!) than our other sheepdog Merv. She is beginning to show interest in herding sheep; this instinct must be channelled and controlled. She currently enjoys rounding up chickens!
We have one field of sugar beet to lift still, the wet weather has prevented us from lifting it so far. However the sugar beet factory closes in mid February so they will have to be lifted soon. We are planning to tip the beet on the side of the field and then use a ‘Maus’ to load them. The Maus is a huge machine that picks up heaps of beet and loads using conveyors into lorries, it can load a lorry in around 5 minutes. The advantage of this is that it avoids getting any mud on the roads, however traffic may be blocked while lorries are being loaded.