We’re poised, ready for action!
Lambing should start on the 26th February or thereabouts and last for 3 weeks. Anything born earlier will be immature or unthrifty and despite an immense amount of management input, unlikely to survive.
We have the lambing gloves, gel lubrication, iodine for navel treatment which prevents infection, milk substitute to rear triplet lambs if there’s no chance of fostering’s and ear tags to identify progeny and pedigree breeding lines. There are buckets for individual lambing pen watering, coloured sprays for long distance markings, disinfectants for hygiene and disease control.
Hopefully the weather will remain mild because extreme conditions, as experienced earlier in February, leads to cold lambs, frozen water and frozen shepherds!
The plan is to get ewes and their lambs out to grass and grazing as soon as possible so some reasonable grass growth and dry conditions will be needed. Last year, the extremely wet weather meant all the sheep had to be kept in our straw barns for an additional month before conditions favoured their moving to the big outdoors!
The winter months has seen much building maintenance and development on the farm, mainly relating to the workshop letting side of the business. With spring approaching there will be a demand for timeliness in terms of arable operations and a change in work emphasis as we progress throughout the year.
Weather permitting, there is still a slight window of opportunity for planting a late crop of winter wheat for milling purposes. Failing that, we will switch to a spring sown wheat variety which will meet a biscuit making market demand. Fertilizing of the autumn sown wheat and barley is due soon and we look for a dry spell to start that job.
The beans, planted in November last year, were looking well before the recent sub-zero temperatures and solid ground conditions. Currently they are looking hammered, but expectations are they will perk up if we get a prolonged mild spell!
To say that farming is weather related is therefore an understatement!
We’re now card carrying vaccinated people, awaiting the call for our second top-up dose! With little (and big) grandchildren wanting to visit us and the prospect of some easing in restrictions occurring, we can only look forward to the spring and the chance to start socializing confidently again!
It will be great to have a holiday, but with the prospect of lambing we’ll be locked down for quite a while yet! Hey, Ho!