It’s spring and there are so many jobs to do on the farm (well that’s my excuse for being late with the newsletter). We have planted young cauliflowers and cabbages, drilled spring barley and swedes, turned out the cattle to the pastures, weighed and sold the early lambs, fertilised and sprayed the cereal crops. The crops on the farm are, on the whole, looking well despite the dry weather this spring. We have had a few showers unlike the east of England where there is a serious problem. Water is such a vital resource which we rely on to produce our crops and to water our animals. We are lucky to have the rain regularly in Cornwall, although the dramatic downpour in November was a disaster for our hedges and for many people in Mevagissey and Pentewan. In my opinion both extremes were abnormal, once in a lifetime events, or is this what we should expect now with climate change? Of course water is also very important for the wildlife on the farm; our swallows which returned to the farmyard a week later than last year have required assistance. The normal array of puddles around the yard have been absent this year, so I have released water from one of my rain harvesting tanks to replenish a puddle. Within a few minutes there were two swallows at the puddle either drinking or collecting mud for their nests. The swallows are busy in the fields as well. Whenever we move a flock of sheep the birds are seen swooping down in front of the ewes catching the flies and insects that are jumping out of the way of the many advancing feet. The sheep and the cattle are depositing their natural fertiliser on the ground which is essential for the flies and insects and many other species within the cycle of life that revolves around the pasture. The grazing of these animals is so important for wildlife diversity, supporting insects, flowers, bees, birds and a whole host of creatures within the soil. The modern efficient way to progress in livestock farming is tending to house animals throughout the year. This will be detrimental to the biodiversity of the countryside; with less insects there will be less pollination of wild flowers. Rest assured on our farms we do allow our animals to graze our pastures and meadows supporting biodiversity and also producing great tasting grass fed beef and lamb. Just as our advertising strap line says; “Naturally the best from the Countryside”. -Ian Lobb
above: Ian with a new lamb
above: a very shaggy sheep awaiting a trim!
above: shearers hard at work
above: newly shorn sheep, off down the lane