November began with our whole herd TB test, which was not an enjoyable task for man or beast. Thankfully we received the all clear, so we will not have to play ‘TB Russian roulette’ again for a while.
Our cattle are in winter housing now, with calves weaned and store cattle thriving.
We have joined the SAC Premium Cattle Health Scheme and our Salers cows, having passed two Johne’s tests in three years, have obtained level 2 status.
More buyers are taking note of the accredited health status of incoming replacements and we are trying to do our best to provide this.
Blood tests on calves I was not happy with showed a selenium deficiency. We can connect the less developed calves to a particular piece of land and we plan to bolus our cows with extra selenium pre-calving to, hopefully, put it right next year.
Our winter barley has come through nicely. No doubt it is enjoying the nutrition provided by a liberal helping of hen manure. Simon sprayed it last week after things dried up and the crop, at this stage, looks spot on.
Our ewes are all tupped up for another year. The mild weather has brought some terrific late grass growth which has put them in tremendous condition. The challenge, as ever, will be managing them through winter.
Our salt marsh ewes are wintering off marsh for the first time as part of our Higher Level Stewardship. They will be enjoying lush dairy farm pastures for a while - I bet they will not want to come home.
Our new flock of Bovan pullets have settled in well. We weigh them as they arrive and they were 35g above target weight with 92 per cent evenness, which is as good as you could wish for. I hope they continue as well as they have started.
By the time you read this we will have been to - and hopefully recovered from - a dinner to celebrate Jan Davinson’s 17 years of service to Cumbria YFC. Jan retired from her role as chief officer in September and she has been a brilliant guiding hand to the club. I always appreciated her wisdom when I was county chairman and I wish her a long and enjoyable retirement.
Cumbria YFC has gone from strength to strength under Jan’s stewardship and is in great shape for the future.