We have also started growing a mix of peas and beans at Godolphin. This should allow us to produce a protein mix ideally suited to feeding the organic livestock. Daniel has already been busy weeding the crop and we hope to harvest at the end of the summer.
The hay meadows are bouncing into life with the wild flowers and bumble bees. This is an important habitat for the nesting birds. The hay cannot be cut until mid-July to allow the young time to leave their nesting place. This is part of our Higher Level Stewardship Agreement with Natural England.
The calving season continues and here is one of Mark’s favourite cows ‘Miss Marple’ with her new calf. She is a shorthorn Hereford cross and is extremely friendly. She, like most of the herd calve outside and will rear her calf with very little interference for the rest of the year.
The ruby reds are now back up on the Godolphin hill preforming their duties management grazing. There are both cows and calves in this herd and they are well used to the public however we would ask that you keep your dogs on a lead when approaching the herd so as not to cause the animals undue stress.
As part of the management grazing we have been looking at ways in which to encourage the Ruby Reds to graze the far side of the hill. It appears that they are reluctant to spend too much time there as there is not a water course nearby.
There are plans to sink a bore hole on the far side of the hill and a friend of ours, also an organic farmer, accompanied Mark to the site at Godolphin to see if there was any evidence of water underground which could be utilised to satisfy the cattle water needs.
Chris is pictured with a dowser, a hand held, V shaped branch which should naturally gravitate towards underground water. He is very confident that there is plenty of water at this site.
Our ram Uggster is in the lower paddocks with a small group of 28 ewes.
Currently we are experimenting with a new breeding timetable. This is a benefit of the Dorset sheep breed as they come into season throughout the year as opposed to some other breeds of sheep. However, the ewe will only become fertile when she is ready and this can be affected by everything from her condition score to the weather during tupping. The success of this experiment will depend on how many of the 28 ewes are successfully in lamb.
The ewes and ram have been selected specifically for this breeding experiment using a mix of older, more experienced ewes which have successfully bred before and younger, novice mothers which can have special attention in their first breeding season.
Uggster’s chest is marked with a red raddle paint which will then rub off on the ewes during mating. The colour is changed periodically so Mark can see how active Uggster has been and to check all the ewes have been mated with.
This should result in a late September lambing season. The lambs can grow on slowly through the winter and be ready for market in early spring. Hopefully, it will also put less burden on the lambing shed during November and January and still be viable to produce prime lamb at this time of year.
Lamb boxes are still available.
The lamb is organically reared at the Godolphin Estate and is both Red Tractor and Soil Association approved. The lamb comes from our closed flock of Pedigree, Poll Dorsets which graze the land at Godolphin Estate.
The feedback from this year’s lamb boxes has been really great and there is still time if you would like to try a lamb box for yourselves. Please telephone Ruth on 01326 573248 for prices, cuts and availability.
Photo 1 : The contents of a half lamb box.
The dung spreader has been out of action as Daniel found a small bird family making a home amongst the machine workings. He has been keeping an eye on them and this week the chicks have fledged the nest. It has suited them this year but next year they may want to find a more secure location than the back end of the dungspreader!