On The Farm
On this page we will keep you up to date with things happening on the farm throughout the agricultural year.
If you would like to visit the local livestock markets:
Ruthin: Tuesdays & Thursdays www.ruthinfarmers.co.uk
Local Farmers market 1st Sunday of the Month – Rhug Estate
The beginning of the year started surprisingly mild however a sprinkling of snow over the New Year and again some more recently but luckily nothing heavy enough to effect the Welsh Mountain Sheep who are bred tough and hardy to withstand this type of weather.
We have started lambing here on the farm. The majority of the lambs are still in the barn but the stronger early lambs are enjoying some unseasonably mild weather. We’re all worried about the implications of the Schmallenburg Virus which has hit some farms in the East of the country. A real worry for sheep farmers at this time.
Flat out lambing we hope the weather holds and we have enough hay and silage to see us through to the spring grass.
Lambing in full flow, most of the lambs now born just some of the stragglers still to come.
Generally nice weather at this time of year – the ewes and their lambs can relax now and enjoy some fresh green pasture and a bit of sunshine on their back. The cows are taken up onto the Berwyns for grazing and we start closing off lower fields to the livestock now for fertilising.
Shearing starts this month. We use Arwyn Roberts (ex-world champion) who with his gang of shearers tour the world shearing farmers flocks. At this time of year he is on home turf back in Wales.
Start hay harvest on the farm. We like to have a spell of 3 days dry weather for cutting silage and an a week for making hay. The grass is cut and wilted then wrapped in black polythene to make big bale silage. It is cut and dried before being baled to make hay. The silage and hay are used as winter fodder for the livestock.
A chance to enjoy the nice summer weather. We are starting to bring some of the lambs down off the mountain to pick for the market – we are suppliers to Waitrose so need to make sure they are in tip top condition. We also start receiving the first straw deliveries which we buy in from arable farmers further east who have excess straw and no livestock.
If it has been a good summer we may get a second cut of hay if we are lucky. This is an old picture we found of haymaking on the farm, we thing it could be Johns great grandfather.
This is the month we generally put the Ram to the Ewes to make sure we start lambing when we want to. The Rams wear a raddle (or harness) with a coloured dye on it so if you have ever wondered why there are ewes with coloured backs at this time of year it is so the farmers can tell which sheep have been….. well say no more.
We bring the cattle into the shed for the winter around this time of year. Once it gets wet and cold (it does occasionally happen in North Wales!) the livestock start ruining (poaching) the grassland with their feet, they are also more susceptible to foot and joint problems if they are standing in muddy fields. We bring them into the nice warm sheds where they are bedded down on straw and fed from silage or hay harvested earlier in the summer.
We start scanning the ewes to see which ones are pregnant for early lambs, any that are carrying twins are kept separately and given higher feed rations. We keep an eye on the weather to check for any flooding or early snow, then it is business as usual with a few days off for carol singing, Christmas dinner and some New Years eve celebrations.