As I write this month’s diary, we have just had nearly 72 hours of constant wind and rain. This dose of horizontal liquid misery has coincided with an explosion of lambs. Ewes are lambing both indoors and outdoors, and it has certainly been challenging. All character building stuff, I hope.
Lambing does dominate proceedings here in March and we are in the thick of it. The early ewes and Texels are done apart from a few hangers on. We have some really good lambs on the ground in both our commercials and pedigree flocks and it has been enjoyable seeing the lambs from our Texel AI sires. We used a tup called Hollyford Vroom Vroom, one of the highest index tups in the breed, and it will be interesting to see how his progeny compare to our other lambs.
Another breeding comparison is between the Llyen and New Zealand Romney lambs out of our Texel cross ewes. The Lleyn has certainly been busier, but both sires are producing well so far. Time will tell if these crosses are an improvement on what we already have and I remain open minded.
The start of March saw the arrival of a new batch of pullets after a busy clean down period and a big team effort. The delivery wagon was ahead of schedule and there were four of us organised to unload the birds; Adam and I made an early start ably assisted by my young sons Thomas and Ben.
They were faster than a lot of adults according to the wagon driver. The pullets are ahead of target on weight and we are now starting to extend the hours of light to bring them into lay.
We now have approval of our catchment sensitive water quality grant. This will allow us to cover the sheep handling pens and roof over the muck middin. The grant from Natural England will be a good help and hopefully the scheme will continue to be funded as we approach Brexit.
I hope that when Defra gets around to thinking up its agricultural policy, the new regime of farm support goes towards helping improve the businesses of productive farmers. A world class UK agriculture will need world class infastructure, and any help to get it in place will be welcome.
Many big promises were made by George Eustice at the recent NFU conference about our rosy post-Brexit future. We will all have to hold him to account.