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In Your Field: Will Case - 'Greetings from the Costa del Cumbria where first cut is finished'

Will Case farms 300ha (750 acres) in partnership with brother Simon and parents William and Margaret at Ulverston, Cumbria. Land is divided between Plumpton Cottage Farm and Robbs Water Farm, Barrow-in-Furness. They farm 1,000 lowland ewes, 90 pedigree Texel ewes, 65 Salers suckler cows, fatten 150 store cattle, 12,000 free-range laying hens and 100 dairy cows milked by robots.

Greetings from the Costa del Cumbria. Since my last diary, our corner of the country has barely seen a drop of rain. I am not sure how much longer it can last; everything is wonderfully dry and even the rock ends are burning off.

 

It is tempting to pray for some rain but I am enjoying the sunshine and we always need to be careful what we wish for; we might get it.

 

We have taken full advantage of the weather with our first cut at Plumpton safely gathered in.

 

Conditions were perfect and if we could not make decent silage this month then we never will.

 

Round bales are also done and we have made a small quantity of hay. It is hard to remember a more relaxed first cut.

 

The last few weeks have been busy as we have finished a hen house clean down and welcomed a new flock of pullets. They have settled in really well and quickly got up to target weight. The bright sunny days are making light control difficult, meaning the new birds are coming into lay a little faster than I would have liked, but the birds are eating really well and the body weights are keeping up with production.

 

After the new hens arrived, we departed on our family holiday to Turkey. We had a brilliant week of doing little, apart from having fun as a family and recharging the batteries. The end of lambing and calving is a great time for us to get away and relax before summer work gets going.

 

This month we have sold a few surplus Salers cows with Charolais calves. All were sold off-farm, with one of our customers selecting his girls in person and our other buyer used a few videos to make his decision. Technology is a wonderful thing.

 

Lambs have enjoyed the long dry spell. Their fleeces are brown with dust, which is unusual for us. Grass growth is pretty slow but the sunshine is leaving stock happy and content. We have started to draw the first of our prime lambs and it is pleasing to see the price staying this good for this long.

 

The weak pound and continued single market access is working wonders. Where we will be next year is anyone’s guess. Hopefully our squabbling politicians get their act together and work out a trade deal to allow our agricultural produce to continue to be exported. When we have been used to a high lamb price, anything else will be hard to take.


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