After February lulled us into a false sense of security with some glorious warm weather, March has brought us back down to earth with a great big soggy bump, writes Will Case.
Heavy rain for more days than I care to remember has left the land waterlogged and standing water in low lying fields.
But things have been worse and, although I like to grumble, temperatures are pretty reasonable and the fields are looking green. March came in like a lion, but let’s hope it leaves like a lamb.
Lambing time is in full swing here. As I write, we are just past the halfway mark and I’m glad to now have all the remaining ewes inside.
Ewes turned out with lambs have been unusually content, our early dressing of urea kickstarting grass growth. It is quite a contrast to last year. I don’t think we have ever fed as little concentrate and had ewes as fit.
The kind winter has blessed us with ewes in good condition, but that brings its own challenges. We have had our share of prolapses but thankfully not as many as I feared.
We are assisting more ewes than usual, the upside being the strength of the lambs and the amount of milk the ewes are producing. Every cloud has a silver lining.
We have bedded our lambing pens on pine shavings this year rather than on straw. Without wanting to tempt fate, so far we have had very little disease challenge.
Our Texel ewes have almost finished and I have been very pleased with the lambs. Birthweights are up on last year. The lambs have coped well with the recent conditions and, even though they look like little coal miners at times, they are thriving.
We had visitors from the NFU and the BBC’s North West Tonight last week to talk about lambing and the effects of Brexit. It took about two hours to film enough material for two minutes of film.
I’m not sure I contributed anything insightful about the effects of the national embarrassment that is Brexit, but we did have fun and hopefully gave viewers an insight into the workings of our ovine maternity ward.
I also politely suggested it would be nice to see a few more positive stories about farming on the BBC.
Our youngest son Rory accompanied me as we filmed. He was very proud of his celebrity status, proudly telling his brothers he is now famous.