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Christine Ryder: Deciding to cut or not to cut, and hosting educational visits for nine-year-olds


Making a decision based on inconclusive weather reports is the new favourite game. 

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Playing the weather game and winning #makinghay

This last month there seems to have been a mission on to see as many weather forecasts as possible, but then they all tell you something slightly different and you have to decide which one you liked the sound of best and make a decision based on that.


Shall we cut some grass is the burning question?. In the end we did and managed to get some brilliant hay. It smells amazing, I think it’s the best smell in the world. We have also made some big bale silage. There’s more to cut yet but as they are wild flower meadows we are restricted as to when we can start in there. Meanwhile its still growing.


Last summer we did some bracken spraying on the moor by helicopter. The bracken has spread considerably since we came here & RPA were going to remove the entitlements. Our options were either lose them or spend some money treating the problem.


It cost us about £5000 and we weren’t sure how successful this would be but its looking like the spray has worked extremely well. We might need to follow this up again in a couple of years but hopefully both sheep and grouse will benefit from this.


We recently hosted a couple of educational access visits with 2 groups of 9 year olds from a school in Keighley. They were great fun and its wonderful to watch their faces when they see something new. For some of them it was the wonder of holding a warm egg, one boy couldn’t understand why it was warm. He said his mums eggs were always cold because she kept them in the fridge! They asked a lot of questions and seemed eager to learn so hopefully days like this will help to educate just where their food comes from.


The highlight seemed to be when Chris explained about weighing fat lambs, he asked a boy if he would like to get in the weigh. He was 40k and ready to go Chris told him, but then they all wanted to be weighed so threw they all went. The look of horror on the female teachers face when the children all wanted her to get in was priceless! Needless to say she didn’t.


Christine Ryder, North Yorkshire

Christine Ryder and husband Chris farm 242 hectares (600 acres) at Blubberhouses, in the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Beauty. They are tenants on their home farm and also run a B&B. Stock includes Swaledale and Mule flocks, as well as a herd of Belted Galloways. The farm also hosts educational access visits.

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