With the crops and grassland desperate for rain a month ago, everything has dramatically changed with the recent precipitation!
Do not complain, ‘it’s pound coins from heaven’ an old farmer once told me!
The crops of wheat and barley are actually looking good, having taken up fertiliser to stimulate development after a long period marking time and not growing a lot! Our winter sown beans do not need artificial fertiliser as they are capable of fixing nitrogen from root nodules. The have also had a growth splurge and are flowering already!
Our lawn keeps growing, but grass for grazing the sheep is still in short supply! We’ve weaned some lambs early to ensure the best grassland is available to them and is not all eaten by their mothers. Before the end of May all the lambs will be weaned, and the ewes then sorted ready for the start of another breeding season, which is not far away!
The plan is to further increase the pedigree Llanwenog flock, purchasing additional ewes for breeding this year. Female lambs from this 2021 lambing will be kept and will eventually enter the main flock when they are two years old, so we’ll need to keep them around for a while! Very little is short-term in farming!
I recently completed our Sheep Assurance Scheme Assessment using modern technology to aid the process! A WhatsApp farm tour followed by a Zoom check of records and other requirements was very successful!. Fortunately, I had a dummy run on WhatsApp with my daughter, and once I was informed you have to turn the phone around to video something and remove the elastic band that was obscuring the camera – all was well. Piece of cake, methinks!
A small area of grassland has been reseeded this spring with a legume and herb rich sward. For the conservation minded, this is a complex list of herbs and grasses and includes cocksfoot, perennial grasses, timothy, meadow fescue, tall fescue, red and white clover, sainfoin, birdsfoot trefoil, chicory, burnet, yarrow and sheep’s parsley herbs, ribgrass and lesser knapweed! Hopefully the recent wet weather will help germination and establishment of this seeds mix!
We’ve also planted some additional field margins with pollen and nectar grasses and legumes which should help the bee population, once fully established.
The end of April saw some big changes here! We are now using a farmer contractor for all our arable work which means that side of the business can move forward with modern machinery and methods, and is inevitably the way many farm businesses will manage future development. Our workshop operation continues to be full with increasing demand for small units. Some of our existing tenants are expanding their operations which is good to see.
We now have a mega-sized trampoline in the garden. The old one was worn out so little grandchildren can once more have a safe bouncing session. Grandpa and Grandma might even be tempted!