This month on the farm at Godolphin is always a happy time when, weather permitting, the cattle are led up to spring pastures after a long winter in the shed. We all love to watch them as they kick up their heels and start munching on the fresh grass. Calves continue to be born, but outside now where they are soon up on their feet and suckling their mothers.
There are a lot less of the Ruby Red cattle because of the severe loss of so many to TB in February. We are fast approaching another TB test and, fingers crossed, hope to be free of TB so that we can start to re-stock. If the test is proved to be positive again, we will have to wait another 60 days for yet another test.
Mark has been busy planting spring wheat and spring oats. A good crop will mean an abundance of straw to be used as bedding for the cattle during the winter months in the sheds. Mark has also been top dressing the winter wheat with fertiliser to enable a better crop.
The stewardship headlands are now well grown with grass which is allowing the small animals and birds to nest without disturbance and provide plenty of cover. Birds can be heard singing all over the Estate.
The lambs that were born in the November/December months are well grown and some have already been marketed. We had another unfortunate incident when a fully grown ewe was killed by dogs in March, but hopefully, people will take notice of the signs on certain gateways to be responsible and keep their dogs on leads around livestock.
The ewes that have had their lambs removed have to be watched closely for mastitis and this can be deadly if not spotted and attended to. The lambs are creep fed with an organic pellet to help put weight on them in order they can be marketed at the right time, but mostly they rely on their mothers to provide milk until they can nibble on the grass themselves.
We market some of our spring lambs as lamb boxes. They are sold in half or whole lamb boxes at a cost of £75 per half lamb and £140 per whole lamb. Anyone interested in a lamb box can contact us on 01326 573248, subject to availability.
We have also been ‘dagging’ the ewes which means shearing them around the tail area as the spring grass sometimes becomes too rich for them and they need to be kept clean in order that they do not attract flies as the weather becomes warmer. We now have a sheep dagging platform which enables Mark to work behind the sheep more easily and keeps them relatively still, also preventing a lot of pressure on his back.
The month ahead will continue to be busy with sheds being cleaned out and preparation for the most busy time in the farm calendar ‘silage season’!