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Will Case: 'We're dreaming of spring, but finding lambing staff has been tricky this year'

February began with some wild and wintry weather. We have had high winds and a bit of damage, but, as quickly as it went downhill, it has picked up again.

Some lovely warm sunshine has had us dreaming of spring and the breeze has dried things up nicely.

 

Whisper it quietly, but we might even put some urea on.

 

This month has seen completion of a new building at Robbs Water, which Simon has constructed to improve storage, the roof going on just in time for the arrival of our fertiliser.

 

He has also improved the youngstock housing, with the addition of new pens. The British Blue calves
are now housed in them and are performing tremendously well.

 

The cows are milking well and we continue to add fresh heifers.

 

A reintroduction of a rumen buffer to the total mixed ration has given us a rise in milk quality as we work to get more milk from forage.

 

The growth of quality silage is a priority and, as the land transitions from livestock to dairy, the fertility of the land continues to improve. All the land has had an application of slurry to set it up to grow.

 

It is unusual to talk about grass growth in February, but grass has continued to slowly grow with us.


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Conditions are unusual; I imagine this what it is like to farm in Cheshire.

 

As we approach the start of our lambing time, grass availability has meant ewes are generally in particularly good condition, which will bring its own challenges. We have housed any leaner ewes and triplets, with fit ewes and singles left outside.

 

It is tempting to not feed any of the outside ewes with ewe rolls and to leave them on silage only, but I am not that brave. A small amount of feed will be well worth it if the weather drastically changes and twin lamb disease strikes.

 

The fields we have had shut up since November have freshened up nicely and we are ready to get a start.

 

Finding lambing staff has been tricky this year, as Easter is so late.

 

Thankfully, we have found some, but vet students are at a premium and I’m told agricultural colleges aren’t encouraging students to go out lambing due to health and safety concerns, which is a real shame.

 

Young people wanting to work with animals should get as much hands-on experience as possible. There is no substitute for the real thing.

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