Rosie Hetherington is a new entrant to farming and runs a small flock of continental sheep in partnership with a retired farmer in West Yorkshire. She is also a third-year agriculture student at Newcastle University.
Sheep: After a winter of incessant rain, we started to doubt the existence of the sun, but slowly it is starting to feel like spring, which means nearly all of our February-born lambs have been turned out.
We have been lucky to take on a bit of extra grazing for the ewes, as there is not a blade of grass or dry spot to be found at home. There is a handful of stragglers left to lamb, who seem to be doubling in size every time I look at them.
Last year was one of change and transition for us as we established two pedigree flocks, Blue Texels and Charollais, under the Covert House prefix last January.
We have been delighted with the performance of these two breeds – they have really impressed us with their motherliness.
It is always exciting to have new lambs on the ground, but extra special this year, looking at our embryo transfer lambs and seeing our flocks expand.
I entered the world of showing last year, so I am already weighing up this year’s prospective show team.
University: Being a final year university student, I have spent the last three weeks in the library in a zombie-like state trying to finish my dissertation on ewe longevity.
It has been really interesting but I cannot wait to finish it and breathe a sigh of relief.
I have a 13-month-old sheepdog, Smithymoor Saph, whose training I have been neglecting, so I am looking forward to spending the break in the fields with her.
New entrant: As a new entrant, work experience is important to improve my knowledge of the industry, so for the last few weeks I have been working on a hill farm with the dog in tow.
This has been a valuable opportunity for us both to learn about hill shepherding, which makes such a contrast to managing continental ewes.
Saph is my first dog and loves her job, but we are both benefiting from the wisdom of experienced dog handlers too.
As I am sure everyone else is, we are dreaming of spring grass and sunny days. For those of you who have just started lambing and spring calving, I wish you all the best of luck; after a miserable winter and poor prices, we all deserve some good fortune.