Time for a Spring update.
Lambing is just about over with only a few stragglers left to lamb. Luckily the bulk of our outdoor lambing took place in early April when the weather was fine and dry. Because it is an outdoor lambing system we have not had an exact count but think that we have around 300 lambs who are skipping and jumping in between the heavy rain showers.
This year the cattle are quite late to be turned out on account of the poor weather. There are a minimum of four issues which have to be considered every year as to the exact timing of turnout:
- Is there enough grass in the fields for cattle to graze?
- How much winter feed [silage ] is left?
- After all this rain, how much damage will rampaging cattle do to the sward? On turnout they get very excited and galloping around madly which they do can cause a lot of damage to the sodden and fragile turf.
- Weather forecast. Jon does not want to have to fetch them back in if the weather takes a turn for the worse. If the weather is really bad after turnout the cattle can lose a lot of condition and to run a profitable beef unit the young stock and fattening cattle should gain weight every single day of their lives.
We have taken a faecal sample from the ewes and the vets now advise that we worm them. We will be testing the lambs faeces too to be sure that all the animals are kept in optimum health. We then will seek approval from the Soil association for a derogation to carry out this essential task. Last spring was very dry and there was no worm burden.
Edgar the new South Devon bull
This is Edgar, the new South Devon bull. He arrived this week and is Kent born and bred and he has gone into 30 days isolation before being turned out in June to run with our best South Devon cows to produce our herd replacements. This photo was taken at his old home.
He replaces Steaming Billy who was only bought last year but sadly died suddenly before Christmas of a clostridial disease. We got permission from the Soil Association to vaccinate the herd against this group of diseases which live in the soil and include tetanus.
We are almost ready to send the next beef animal away, we need just 2 more orders, please see our beef page for details.
Plus for teachers and school children Jon and Sarah Birchall will be on hand at Living Land at the Kent Showground to demonstrate flour milling and explain about how crops are grown for food. Look out for us in the INTERACTIVE ZONE right next to the baker who will be breadmaking with all the children.
Tags: breadmaking, calving, cattle, clostridial disease, faecal egg count, flour, grass, Kent showground, lambing, Living Land, May, milling, Spring, sward, tetanus, turf, turnout, vaccination, youngstock