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Farmer John’s February 2012 Blog

Farmer John’s February 2012 Blog

1 Feb 2012

The first calf is born, and scanning shows a good lamb crop. Now our skills are needed to ensure they are born safely.

Our first calf of the season has just been born. Black and sleek, he darted around the thick straw in the pen on wobbly legs. His heifer mum was not quite sure whether to defend him against me or smugly display him as “all my own work” and “I told you I could manage”. Then it was my turn to be proud and show my keen helpers Phoebe and Max. It’s a Sunday morning and young, willing hands make it so much easier to feed and bed up cattle and sheep and check outside stock even if the main motivation is the chance to drive a tractor or my aging pickup.

We were scanning sheep on Thursday, 500 down and 283 to go and the job was getting tedious. A bunch of 15 students from Brookfields Specialist SEN School arrived. They should have totally disrupted the whole serious process. Instead the barn was filled with laughter and fun, even the ewes joined in. The scanning man got a new lease of life and seemed to be involved in deep and meaningful conversations with one group. He was clearly impressed and applauded their quick minds to recognise that a blue mark was for singles, no mark twins, red for triplets and orange for barreners. Such an ability to grasp these simple facts, he observed, was not present in a number of his farmer clients. The results were good, 1450 lambs alive at this point halfway through the pregnancy with a low number of barreners. The challenge is on to feed the ewes well and successfully birth and rear all those lambs….

We have students from Cambridge, Glasgow, Liverpool, Henley College, BCA and Sparsholt helping over the lambing period as well as those “Auction of Promises” shepherds. Somehow new life and young life is totally inspirational and I am not just referring to calves and lambs. So our lives are always enriched by having young people helping us even if Wigmore’s Garage gets a bit more trade knocking the dents out of the pickup!

John Bishop