Spring lambs & calves
As I write this we are just coming to the end of calving and lambing, with the last few stragglers trickling out slowly. It has been the worst weather for these operations that I can remember and has certainly made it very challenging for our outdoor systems. A combination of persistent rain, very wet ground and cold temperatures delaying spring grass growth have all transpired against us, and made life miserable for the cows and the sheep at times. Although we have suffered more losses than I would like, it is humbling to see what has happened to farmers in Wales and Ireland, and in relation to this I have nothing to complain about in the grand scheme of things. Overall we have got through it okay, and it feels like spring is just about upon us at last. However I think we will make some changes for next year to be able to manage better in the event of such extreme weather, with slightly later lambing and calving dates which will both reduce the risk of extreme cold just when we don’t want it, and also allow us to have the barn empty of the previous year’s weaned calves, so that we can bring some of the cows indoors for calving if the weather turns against us. Our next challenge is making enough hay for next winter, as I am currently grazing hay fields due to lack of grass and some of the fields that I need for making silage have only just been sown as we didn’t get an opportunity to establish new leys after the arable crops were harvest in the Autumn. Life is never dull and often full of challenges in this line of work, but I wouldn’t swap it for anything!