I’m not sure who first declared that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb, but it certainly roared in. It flirted briefly with lamb-like behaviour, then turned quickly back into a fierce lion! There should be rules about such like…
As ever at this time of year, the last month has gone by very quickly. The excitement of lambing time has passed and we’re in the post lambing period of ’sorting out problems and tying up loose ends’. Lambing 2015 has been a good one for us, we’ve a lot of lambs on the ground and the ewes are milking well. I’ll count the lambs at the first worming, as that’s the count that really matters, and we will find out how well we’ve done. The early signs look promising… time will tell!
As we finish lambing, calving looms on the horizon. We have given all cows a selenium bolus after testing last year revealed a deficiency and they are in good condition.
Most of our cows are wintered outside, with heifers and leaner cows housed. Our Salers cows calve outside with little assistance, but we try and keep them in fields close to the buildings to be on the safe side! The Salers calves are quite small and are generally quick to get on their feet and suck. We’ve got on very well with the breed over the last six years and they’ve served us well. So, it has been a hard decision to make, but this summer we will be reducing our red beef cows and replacing them with black and whites cows…
Yep, you read it right... Later this year we will be going into milk. This has been a long term decision. In effect, our family is returning to milk production after a generation-long sabbatical. It will be a two robot set up on a green field site at Robbs Water farm, where Simon lives.
The idea is based on our general outlook to intensify production from our acres and has been 18 months in the making. We have a lot to learn, but learning isn’t something we’re afraid of and we’re confident that dairy will be a good addition to our family business. We’re currently building silage pits ready for first cut and hope to start producing in the autumn. After a long build up, it’s starting to feel very real!
Will Case farms 300ha (750 acres) in partnership with brother Simon and parents William and Margaret at Ulverston, Cumbria. Land is divided between Plumpton Cottage Farm, and Robbs Water Farm, near Burrow in Furness. They farm 1, 000 lowland ewes, 90 pedigree Texel ewes, 65 Salers suckler cows, fatten 150 bought-in store cattle and have 12,000 free-range laying hens.