Castration rings in the washing machine…

Amniotic fluid, flying placentas and castration rings left in pockets… it’s that time of year again. With 900 breeding ewes, this is our busiest time of year and also the most rewarding. Here’s one of this morning’s lambs…

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2015 was a bad year for British farmers, here’s hoping 2016 will be kinder. RABI (Royal Agricultural Benevolant Institution), is a charity supporting farming families in need and this week the Monmouthshire branch was launched with a quiz at our local livestock market. Support was overwhelming and a great time was had by all with amazing food and Jim’s cider on tap…hic! Hopefully the first of many events raising awareness of this wonderful charity.

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The name of our farm translates to “home of the frost” and this was certainly true earlier this week. Made a nice change from the relentless wet weather over Christmas and New Year.

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The classroom is having a cleanout as February lambing courses are nearly all full and we also have a school group visiting the farm. Education is so important in our industry and I’m proud to be a Bright Crop Ambassador, promoting positive perceptions in agriculture and will be attending our local secondary school’s careers evening in a couple of weeks to hopefully inspire budding future farmers in areas of technology, engineering and science.

Our own future farmer Sam has just left school, attends college one day a week and has worked hard and saved for a 3 tonne digger with which he’s making more money than we are with the sheep! With his forward thinking ideas, we think this young entrepreneur will go far.

In the mean time, I’m off to check the washing machine for castrating rings…

 

 

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Don’t care what they say, cider will always be part of my 5 a day!

Recent news reports suggest that fruit juice is not as healthy as previously believed and that some fizzy drinks may be better for you. Well personally I think if we all stick to “natural” ingredients and simple sugars in moderation, this has to be healthier than artificial sweeteners and flavourings. A bit like real cider, made from 100% apples, has to be much better for you than ciders with 35% apples with 65% sweeteners, water, colours, flavourings etc.. (not that we’re biased!). Keep it simple, keep it healthy.

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Jim enjoys his “5 a day”

Had a bTB test reading here on Friday and although we all suffered a high degree of stress, we got the all clear. After breathing a sigh of relief, we sat down to a nice cup of tea (with real sugar) only to find that the postman had delivered some tracer test requests (bought in calves to be tested due to their previous farm going down with bTB), so still more testing to do later this year.

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Some of our cattle

We’ve finished our courses here for 2014, with cider making being our booziest yet and we begin our lambing courses again in February 2015. Well done to all who attended them we have met some fantastic people and made new friends, its amazing how many people com back on more and more courses. I always think we might be enjoying this diversification a bit too much! Not sure what the animals think…. I’m heading to London again this month to talk at the Farm Innovation Show, please take pity if you see me wandering lost in the big city.

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Wonder what she’s thinking…..

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Raddling the tups

Our tups have been working hard and the raddles (marks on the ewe’s bums from paint on tup’s chest) indicate that we are in for a busy lambing season from February until April. Why not join us? Additional March dates will be on the website this week.

On a final note, sometimes its good to not fit in with the crowd. So hold your head up high and be proud as you walk on by…..

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Hold your head up high and walk on by.

Take care,

Kate x