Summer Farm Update
Unlike last years hot, dry May this Spring we have contended with piercing hail storms, days of heavy rain and occasional rays of sunshine spilling through storm clouds. Due to April’s lack of rain and cold temperatures our crops and grass are a month behind their normal seasonal growth, a tangible impact of global climate change.
May’s rains have at least bought lush green grass that our ewes and teenage lambs are enjoying and as we gently move towards Summer’s warmer temperatures we’ve been tossing on our Stag Shirts rather than Bison Jackets, for cosy warmth sheltering from the rain and breathable protection when out in the fields in the warmer afternoons.
Biodiversity through Wild Plant Sowing
Recently we have been busy resowing strips of wild plants in our fields, by adding biodiverse strips of wild plant mixes between crops or grasslands we can create natural habitat for wildlife and pollen nectar for pollinators.
As part of our regenerative farming these natural patches also serve to sequester carbon and improve soil fertility. By resowing the patches every couple of years it improves soil biodiversity and reduces weeds that can build up naturally, ultimately reducing the need for chemical intervention.
This year we have sewn legume rich and ‘Bumblebird’ mixes, these are specially designed to provide a resource for farmland birds and nectar feeding insects, like butterflies and bumble bees.
With warming temperatures and sunlight hours pollinators and insects of all sorts are becoming more active, with Hawthorn and Blackthorn blossom bumming in the hedgerows beside our flocks pastures.
Our own honeybees have survived the winter, despite an attack on their hives by wasps this Autumn and are our foraging. We hope to be able to harvest their sweet floral honey in the coming months.
Our lambs are out in the fields and becoming more confident by the day, we are pleased that the orphan lambs have slipped seamlessly into the flock learning from the ewes and lambs around them.
Although we are preparing our ewes for shearing this years lambs will not be shorn in the coming weeks. Rather than rush for margins we wait until our lambs are mature at 15months for their first shearing. This allows them to have sufficient insulation during the winter months and creates a standardised length for the wool collected at shearing, ultimately creating finer quality and stronger yarn.