January on the Farm (2021)

Winter Aconites on the Moreton Road

Richard Fonge writes:

January another wet month, with the ground extremely sodden, and our footpaths quite challenging to walk. When you live in the countryside as we do, the mud and water are all part of our daily walks at this time of year.

The sight of the aconites in flower up the Moreton Rd and Hazel Catkins out, reminds us that Spring is not far away.

Whilst there is nothing happening on the land Farmers are preparing for the spring, when as soon as the land dries out there are many tasks to do. Winter months are the time for maintenance of plant and machinery, and the making of any improvements to the homestead. It is also a chance to take a look at the business, never more so than this year with Brexit now completed. Challenging times are ahead for the agriculture business, which I am sure farmers will rise to. It will be interesting to see how new policies are going to impact on our countryside.

Preparation for lambing starts with the pregnancy scanning, followed six weeks before the start, with a booster dose of clostridial vaccine. There are seven clostridial diseases and this vaccine protects the lambs through their mothers first milk. Also at this time the ewes are often housed, and divided into groups, and fed according to the no of lambs they are expecting. It is exceedingly important that they are on a rising plain of nutrition leading up to lambing. To have healthy ewes and lambs born does not just happen, it requires planning of their feeding and veterinary needs.

Animal nutrition is vital in producing the quality product, whether that be milk or meat. Nutritionists are employed by most livestock farmers, to formulate their rations.

Finally on the Helmdon Rd, two small fields that have been let to get overgrown, have been cleared and the vegetation cut back and burnt. My understanding is that a stock fence will be put up and the field will be grazed for sheep. With the clearing that has gone on, the old prisoner-of-war camp site is now more evident.

Richard Fonge



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