Down on the Farm - April

Colin Williamson
Colin Williamson

WHAT a refreshing change after the long hard winter, some decent dry weather.

Even though the grass hasn’t really started growing at all fast enough to sustain the cows, we have got them turned out to grass but are still feeding them most of their winter ration.

The cows aren’t complaining though as being out in the field and able to nibble at a bit of grass here and there, they are quite content, but it will be the end of April/beginning of May before the grass does start growing fast enough to be able to knock off the supplementary feeding.

We still have the in-calf heifers and suckler cows inside as they are a month off calving. When the dairy cows come back in from the field they have first chance at the ration in the trough.

Once they have had their fill, milked and gone back out to the field, the in-calf heifers and suckler cows are given the option of finishing off the ration.

There has been a good few dairy cows calving over the past three weeks, but a week gone last weekend, four of the six cows to calve had twins.

We usually get a couple of sets a year so this was rather unusual for them all to come at once and also in varying degrees of survival at birth as well, as often with them being that bit smaller and a bit weaker but they are all firing a lot better now.

Obviously this is a fortnight later and they needed a lot of tender care, both mothers and calves.

We managed to get through the very onerous farm assurance inspection, ticking all the good boxes, well apart from a bit of steel work that needed a bit of attention.

So field work had to take a bit of a back seat but we are getting going now, but with fertiliser the price it is we are even more careful not to waste it and I do like to see the grass start to grow a little before giving it a tickle with bag fertiliser.

This is following up on the initial application of liquid farmyard manure to put a few nutrients on the ground for the initial up take by the crop starting to grow.

The pedigree Suffolk sheep after spending three weeks coming back under cover every night to make it warmer for the lambs coming, rather than under the stars and the frosts to contend with, decided to make a bolt for freedom.

After finding a small hole in the fence they took themselves five or six fields away. Well that was their choice so there they stopped.

We are trying to get a batch of calves de-horned so they get healed up again before we turn them out and also before the flies start pestering them as well as they don’t care if the animal is alive or dead, they will still lay eggs on them.

Well the Whitby Gazette phoned so instead to going out for a celebratory drink for my birthday I was busy writing.

All the best to everyone.