From the Farm 18/19 Winter Update

The UK Weather is remarkable with this winter report coming in early January.

After such a dry Summer there was a severe shortage of Straw for bedding purposes.

Nature has gone a long way to rectify the problem with a kind Autumn to keep Cattle outdoors for longer than usual.

When the rain came it was time to house them but being so mild pneumonia can be a problem due to lack of 'fresh air' and many cattle have been left out a bit longer.

The exceptional dry period since Christmas has enabled these hardy animals to enjoy extra time in the fields without doing much damage to the turf.

The early lambing has also enjoyed this wonderful weather which will give the little ones a great start.

Most sheep are scanned these days with a lower percentage conceived this time . Probably due a slow recovery from the hot summer.

Winter cereals were sown in good time and germinated quickly to give a good root structure before the late autumn rains came.There has been very little run off with soil erosion as a result.

Most Farmers should be content this winter .It only remains to wait for Spring and the effect of leaving Europe.!!!!

Summer Update 2018

What an amazing summer it has been with continued sunshine day after day with not many 'British' moans, both local and tourist.

Even the farm animals have relaxed after such a very wet April . If they have shade and water they seem to thrive without an abundance of grazing.

However, those highly productive farms driven by supermarket contracts are suffering due to the lack of moisture.

Fertiliser means nothing without some rain, so extra cuts of silage have been light if not non-existent.  The grazing cattle have been reaching across fencing for anything green.

This is a reminder of the great drought of '76 when the grass didn't grow until late September.

It's late July and the Winter Barley and a lot of the winter oats and oil seed rape has been harvested.

The weekend of 28th/30th will be remembered for the wind and rain which will be some sort of a saviour.

Unlike thunder rain the wind blew it into the soil to avoid 'run off' which might have caused blocked drains and flooding.

It was very unfortunate for many planned events, some of which were cancelled.

We can only hope it's better for Kingsbridge Show on Sat 1st Sept, held here in our Parish at Borough Farm by kind permission of the Smaridge Family.

Spring Update 2018

When does Winter give way to Spring. It should be March as the 'ol saying is : If March comes In like a 'Lion' it will go out like a 'Lamb'. So the Beast from the East must have been 'LEO'. The Farmers will be praying for 'Larry' come the end !!

It's the second dose of snow and this particular farm is just producing the lambs. The Rams will have been held back until the 24th of October before being 'unleashed' with the ewes . 

A gestation period of nearly 5 months (on 5 months and back 5 days gives us 19th of march) and lo and behold just 4 out of 170 ewes have produced.

Fifty years ago, lambing indoors was unheard of but today with the well balanced food, sheep will house well if introduced to their feed in the field.

Of course it's not natural but it does protect the turf from poaching and weaker lambs survive the elements.

The extreme moisture in the ground is holding back ploughing and cultivations but no doubt seed time and harvest will not fail.

Turn out of cattle will also be welcome as soon as the fields can hold the heavy feet from poaching - this following a poor straw harvest for bedding is going to show some anxiety.

Anxiety is very much on the farmer’s mind as Brexit could bring severe hardship on the smaller farms.

The support system is as vital as it has been for years with many farmers’ sons looking for a better life.

However, to cheer us all up the early spring flowers are fighting the elements and all will be soon in full bloom again.