It is silage time at the Godolphin estate and the boys have been busy. The benefits of having a small, independent team is as soon as the weather is good enough, Mark, Daniel and Sam are back out on the fields again instead of waiting for a large contractor as part of their long list of customers.
You can see how important the small weather windows are as Sam (above) races against the rain heading his way. It had already covered Tregonning Hill, in the background with a thick covering of fog.
Dan, was back in the yard (as seen below) wrapping the bales in plastic to protect them from the weather and lock in the goodness and stacking them up in the background of this shot.
Working with the weather and part of a small productive team means Godolphin Estate can be self-sufficient by growing the feed on the Estate, harvesting it independently and feeding it back to the animals grazing here to supplement them in winter.
In last month’s blog we told you about the 21 animals which reacted to the TB test we had in June. They were removed from the holding under DEFRA regulations and sent to a slaughterhouse. Once there, a post mortem was carried out and revealed that only 2 of the 21 reactors had ‘visual lesions’ created by TB in their system. After several conversations, neither the vets nor DEFRA are sure why an animal would react to the TB test if it did not have TB, but for the 19 animals who were tested positive and proved to be clear it is a premature end to a happy life. The meat from these animals is put into the food chain.
We also told you about the several calves left in the herd whose mothers had been Tb reactors. Most are doing well and adapting to their new lives after coming off milk early, or sharing the milk from another mother, but unfortunately one calf deteriorated quickly and later died, and another, nicknamed ‘Jo-Jo’ is still being bucket reared and we will see how it gets on over the next few months.
Here is little Jo-Jo who is being bucket fed milk.
We have sorted our ewe lambs born Nov 2015/Jan 2016 and selected the breeding stock we would like to keep. These are all pedigree, organic, Poll Dorset ewe Lambs as pictured above and although numbers are coming down we do still have a small number for sale for anyone interested.
This group headed off to Somerset and had to be loaded by 5am to avoid the summer traffic and the heat of the day.
The hay fields are coming on nicely and should be cut and baled in August. These are species rich and are excellent in supporting the cattle and sheep through the winter by providing a wide range of nutrients. The hay fields have been left to have uninterrupted growth since early spring and this forms an important part of the summer feeding ground for the wildlife too.
Mark’s farm is certainly a family run farm with all members of the family playing an active role at some point in the year. The youngest member of the family, Annie loves the animals and tractors and in this photo accompanied ‘Papa Mark’ with his early morning checks.
Cutting and baling hay
More TB testing at Godolphin
The trial batch of September lambers are moved off the holding to lamb