After that week of heavy snow at the beginning of February, that caught many of us off guard, we have had a relatively calm spell, so I am hopeful that was our winter and we can begin to look forward to spring with warmer weather and longer days.

Our early pure ewes have all lambed successfully in two four-five-day batches which shows the sponges were effective, and has in turn enabled us to carry on with other work instead of spending an entire month checking the lambing shed! It was quick and concentrated which is definitely welcomed.

The main lot of in-lamb ewes has been treated with Heptavac and thankfully the snow appears to have had little affect on their condition. We did however increase ewe cake and started feeding twice a day during those hard days.

Silage was replenished as was needed and they continued to strip graze turnips or fodder beet. In-lamb ewe hoggs have been strip grazing the same fields, working from the opposite side. They are thriving on it which should mean little wastage.

Having been removed from the ewes, tups have had access to both silage and stubble turnips to build them up after tupping.

The only issue we had during the snow, once all of our roads had been cleared, was that other non-essential drivers were out and about with poor tyres and no winter supplies on board.

One Morrison’s delivery van got stuck in a snow drift when I came upon him. After driving through fields to access him from the other side I pulled him out and escorted him using the snow plough to his delivery address, before continuing to feed our livestock. This happened numerous times in one way or another. I can only hope that farmers are appreciated for their efforts as many of us will have spent days helping and rescuing others at an already taxing time. Calving has been very fast this year too with 69% of heifers calved in two weeks which have been able to head out onto grass with the improved weather. Calves always thrive better outside and it helps greatly to minimise illnesses.

Heifers are being supplemented with silage and turnips to ensure they milk well. The cows are not far behind with 64% now calved, having run with our new bull last year.

The last of the 2019 crop of finishing cattle has all been sold too, with the first of the 2020 cattle almost ready to go. The heaviest is weighing in at 648kg and will be a year old on March 20.

The cold spell which followed after the ground had dried up from the melted snow, allowed us to muck out the sheds too, which was spread onto fields that are to be ploughed before sowing barley. The barley seed is all dressed and ready waiting for when weather conditions are in our favour.

The last push in our spring preparations is to set up the large lambing sheds ready for the main batch of commercial ewes. This is quite a task and takes a number of days but once finished we are ready to go when they are.

Fingers crossed the grass continues to grow and sun shines for a very important few weeks in our calendar year.