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.
With the first month of 2018 well underway, any hope of a change of weather in the New Year seems to have faded.
We seem to be in a cycle of heavy rain followed by high winds, then a brief and unspectacular frost, followed by sleet which then morphs back into heavy rain.
Talking to a friend about the weather, he said ‘at least we are not in America with all those extreme droughts, floods and fires. We are just wet and mucky’. I will therefore count my blessings.
January has been busy. The month began with our old hens being depleted and the clean-down getting underway. We dismantled all the equipment in a day, thanks to a great team effort and the enthusiastic help of my eldest boys.
What better way to spend the last day of the school holidays than shifting troughs and slats? They have some impressive stamina for seven and nine year olds. It will stand them in good stead when the rugby league season starts.
Our new sheep shed is full of happy, dry ewes. I am resisting the temptation to overfill it to save grass and as this would put the weaker ewes under as much pressure as they would be outside, undoing much of what I am trying to achieve.
The plan is to house all triplets and any leaner ewes, with singles and fitter girls staying out for now. Getting the balance right is not easy and, once our first lambing season in the new building is done, we will no doubt find a long list of things we should have done differently.
One thing is for sure, we will never get it all right. Our main batch of ewes scanned at 210 per cent, so with the potential of a good lamb crop we hope our new facilities will help us harvest it.
For anyone who uses social media, the Veganuary month is hard to ignore. At first glance it would be easy to believe the world is going vegan. They are a small, but noisy group determined to spread misconstrued propaganda about farming.
Much of it should be ignored, but in the age of social media any claims which are not countered can be received as the truth, no matter how far-fetched. It certainly focuses the mind about how we need to be ever-ready to engage and educate the public about the good work British farmers do.