Now 2017 is properly underway and the shortest day has passed, the days are getting longer, and with all the mild weather we have had recently it almost feels spring like.
I am sure Mother Nature has one or two surprises up her sleeve for us yet, but for now I can safely say the land is in very good order for January; there is even some slight grass growth.
Whatever the rest of winter throws at us, we are well set to weather it.
The start of the New Year saw us scan more than 800 ewes to average up at 207 per cent. The scan was down slightly on last year, as I decided to tup ewes on a level plane of nutrition rather than flushing them.
I did this to try and keep lamb numbers more manageable, with hopefully a few less pet lambs than the 85 we had last year.
I was pleased with the ewe scan, but ewe lambs were a disaster. There were only 9 out of 65 in-lamb due to a misfiring tup. Dad hates lambing hoggets, so he was chuffed.
Our four-yearly TB test is now done and thankfully passed without any problems. It is always an anxious time and not very enjoyable for neither man nor beast.
We will be selling store cattle for the next few months and were glad to get the all clear. We could do with making some room for the incoming dairy cross calves from Robbs Water and/or sheep as lambing time approaches.
We enjoyed the annual Ulverston Show silage competition and went on the day’s tour of the finalists. With a pub lunch and nine farms to visit, finishing up at Robbs Water to look over our silage, a good day was had by all.
There was an excellent local mix of diary and livestock farms to have a nosey round, giving us chance to get a few new ideas along the way.
Local events and organisations are important and we try and support them where we can.
We are lucky to have a strong farmers club in the Furness area, with 80-90 farmers (in collar and tie) attending dinner, followed by a speaker during winter months.
The committee is quite youthful and we are able to bring some excellent speakers to our part of the world, which I think is invaluable.
I often hear many similar clubs around the country are dying off and I would encourage any younger farmers to get involved, take ownership of their local club and build on the tradition. You do not always need to travel as far as Oxford [for the farming conferences] to be inspired.