April, saw yet another TB test. Currently, the Estate is on 60 days testing until they can provide two consecutive clear tests. I am sure that the cows are more than fed up of these injections as they have been tested every 60 days since February 2015. The injections are given and then the animals skin reaction is measured after three days. As you can appreciate this takes time to organise as well as man power and stress to the animals.
One animal had a positive reaction to the test in the month. This means the TB restriction continues, the cow had to be isolated and destroyed.
The oats that were sown last month are beginning to germinate in the nice weather and Mark is here taking a ground sample to see how well the germination is progressing. These should grow on through the spring and be ready to harvest in the autumn.
He will need to identify any problems quickly as in an organic system he cannot use sprays and pesticides to rectify any issues. This will not only be his feed for his cattle and sheep next winter but the straw, a bi-product, will also be used as their bedding.
The Ruby Reds Cattle are soon to head back up on to the hill at Godolphin after spending the winter months grazing the lower fields in the Estate that are more protected from the winds and rain.
They are specifically required to graze the hill as they are hardy enough to break through areas of bracken and gorse, reclaiming areas which naturally evolve over time creating a more diverse habitat for the wildlife. They are most suited to this environment and managed the landscape much better than humans can mechanically. However, this is a long term process and this herd have been doing this job since 2005.
The hill is enjoyed by hundreds of people finding their way through the maze of paths created by the cattle to get to the top of the hill.
If you see the cattle on the hill please take a moment to appreciate the good work they do.
Sheep weighing continues. In this photo Sam brings the ewes and lambs down a race so the lambs can be weighed to check their progress. This also gives Mark and Ruth a chance to monitor the health of the ewes closely looking for any that may be struggling to cope with the growing lambs feeding requirements.
Once the lambs have reached 44kg in weight and have the correct confirmation, i.e. body shape they are marked and separated from their mothers as her job is now done. The lambs are then sorted to see which are suitable to be sold at the local livestock market at Truro, which will go straight to the abattoir for Dales the local butcher in Helston and which of the females will make good replacement stock for next year.
Unfortunately, going to market has no guarantees on price and as we have found out the prices animals receive can be volatile depending on the buyers there on the day. It is also dependent on the global supply and demand for lamb. The lambing supply is staggered in the UK with more lambs hitting the market up through the country as spring progresses, the British supply still has to compete with the New Zealand imports though driving the price per head down further.
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.