February has arrived, snow drops are already out in flower and the daffodils are making an appearance a month or so early. A very, very mild winter, wet and warm has not been very helpful with hardly any drilling done at the end of last autumn. Every month was warmer and wetter in the last quarter when compared to the long-term average. There was rainfall on 59 days out of 92 for this period. We would have welcomed crisp winter days to get out onto the bare fields and get some drilling done and some crop into the ground. Let us all hope that February does not repeat November and December.
The arable part of the farm is immensely quiet as a result, fields still empty and what did get planted has not established as well as we would have hoped. When spring eventually does arrive, we will be very busy on the farm, hoping to get something into the ground so that we can have a harvest, albeit 2020 is going to be on the famine side and not such a feast.
The Cattle are all happy in their winter quarters, the calves that were born in November/December are growing well and are happy in their nursey pens, their mothers alongside them with their heads in the silage feeder. Soon these little calves will get some more friends appearing as we have some more mothers due in the coming weeks.
The ewes have now said goodbye to their boyfriends who were taken back to their own fields at the beginning of January (hopefully having served most of our ewes). The grass keeps growing so at least the sheep have something to browse on as well as having a little bit of extra feed. They would be very happy if the weather improved as they, like us, get very fed up with the constant gloomy days.
On a positive note, with more time on our hands on the farm, the just jobs are now getting done. Ditches are being cleaned out, drainage pipes jetted to get rid of the silt build up and repairs and maintenance to machinery and building are also being done. There is always immense scope for job creation on a farm, it just depends on the weather as to if the jobs are completed or not before something more pressing comes along. Finally with an extra day this month it is likely to catch our shepherds out as lambs suddenly start arriving in February… well every 4 years they do!