At last Spring is officially upon us for 2016 and here at the Godolphin Estate, after a long winter in the sheds, most of the cattle have been put out to grass. It’s lovely to see them as they kick up their heels and immediately start munching as they enter the fields. The calves stick close to their mothers and can finally have some sun on their backs.
This last winter has been one of the wettest we have ever experienced and it has been particularly frustrating for us continually trying to keep all the cattle bedded up in such damp conditions. Some cattle had to remain in the fields, but have come through fairly well and must be thankful winter is behind them.
Unfortunately we are still under TB restriction and not able to sell our cattle unless at a TB restricted market at a reduced sale price. We cannot afford to let our cattle be sold at a loss so all hopes are pinned on becoming TB free very soon. Our next TB test will be in April, but we have to have a negative result on two consecutive 60 day tests to gain a TB free status.
Lambing went well and the ewes were taken to our home farm to lamb so they can be checked every couple of hours and are now all back in the fields at Godolphin. Although our sheep are all the same breed and look the same, the lambs immediately recognise their own mothers call and they soon pair themselves up after being transported down from the home farm.
Signs are placed on the gates of their fields so please be considerate and put your dogs on leads as we have already have a number of dog attacks this year, the most recent one, just yesterday in which the previously healthy lamb had been so badly damaged it had to be destroyed.
We have already sheared around the back end of the ewes to deter flies, a process known as dagging before they are completely sheared in May. Mark and Ruth are dagging in the left of this picture. You can also see Sam, back from 3 years on Canada, to the right, checking the ewes teeth, udders and feet before weighing them.
The ewes and lambs then need to be walked back out to the field. They are walked in and out from the shed for a variety of reasons and so it is quite likely that if you are a regular walker at Godolphin you will see us at some point over the next few months.
This years spring lambs are growing well and some have already been marketed after reaching their optimum weight. Lamb boxes are available from now until June, these are the lambs that graze the fields at the Godolphin Estate and on organic pastures. We keep Poll Dorsets sheep as they have a wonderful flavour and produce lean and tender meat.
Anyone interested in purchasing a half or whole lamb boxed can register their interest by telephoning 01326 573248 and we can let you know when the next lamb boxes will be available. The wait in usually only a couple of weeks.
Other news on the Estate, some large trees fell with the high winds and we were lucky the sheep decided to stay at the top of the field on this occasion.
The boys are busy and now with spring here, you will see the tractors and implements heading around the Estate getting the ground ready for another busy year.
Daniel has been spreading the farmyard dung from the sheds which will provide essential goodness to promote the natural growth of the grasslands over time. This is extremely important in an organic system as we cannot artificially boost the nutrients quickly with chemical based manures like a non-organic system.
Sam has been rotivating the headlands whilst Mark has been ploughing.
Next month on the farm …… Tb testing, drilling the spring corn and weighing lambs.