October has been yet another month of kind weather. I seem to have started all of my Farmers Guardian columns with positive comments about the weather so far. I cannot imagine it will last much longer.
The season of passion is upon us and the tups are going about their business with the usual enthusiasm. The ewes are in terrific condition and, with grass in front of them, they are taking the tups well.
We decided to tup some ewe lambs with 50 home-bred Texel crosses running with a Charollais ram. We do not usually tup our ewe lambs but they are in such tremendous form I thought it would be a shame not to.
To contrast the benefits of our dry weather, the 10 hectares (25 acres) of reseeded grass at Robbs Water has fared less well. The clay soil has dried out and the cracks will help the heavy land no end, but the seeds have not grown as we would have liked. Still, we cannot have it both ways.
On the subject of grumbles, our remaining lambs seem to be going lame despite our best efforts. The footbath has been used for the first time in years and my fingers are now blue.
Washing out the hen house is complete and we have almost reassembled the equipment. An empty shed is always silent and eerie - it is a good feeling to restock with new pullets and get back to the usual activity. We are trying Bovans for the first time and we are looking forward to seeing how they perform.
Store cattle are all inside now and doing well. I think they tell you when it is time to start winter. They are enjoying some good silage and a simple barley-based home mix which is really getting some shine on them.
Our Salers calves have been vaccinated against respiratory disease and the cows have been scanned. We calve them outside in a tight spring block from mid-April, with 55 due to calve in six weeks and the stragglers should be done by the end of June. Salers cows require little assistance at calving due to their large pelvis and we mostly leave them to get on with it.
Last month we entered a Higher Level Stewardship agreement. Our farm has some areas of wonderful habitat and this will allow us to enhance the environmental benefits we provide without affecting our production.