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Hello all,

April started with the first of our lambs being born.  Having not had any lambs born on the farm for at least fifteen years, this was a learning curve for me, and a chance for dad to remember everything that we used to do with the lambs back then.  We only had seventy ewes (female sheep) that were expecting lambs so compared to a lot of people who lamb sheep we had quite small numbers.  However, as it was the first time the majority of our ewes had had lambs, it was an interesting time as they don't always know what to do with them.  It always amazes me how a little lamb pops out of its mum, usually without any of our help, and within seconds it is up and moving about and within just a few minutes has worked out how to find its mothers teats and knows that this is where it gets its food from.

Lambing generally went well with most of our two year old ewes having two lambs each and the 1 year olds having 1 lamb, which is what we were expecting/hoping for.

The rest of April was an extremely busy month as our main tractor driver was off for 6 weeks having had a knee operation.  This was during lambing, and also in a busy time when we were trying to plough and cultivate land ready for sowing with spring barley and Maize.  We did eventually get or spring barley sown, in fairly good conditions so hopefully that will do well.  The only problem is that some of the land has a lot of rabbits living in the hedges that surround the fields, and they like to eat the barley when it starts to grow which isn't good for us.

The rest of April on the arable side of things was busy with spraying and spreading nitrogen fertilizer onto the crops to make them grow.  Fertilizer is a product that is interesting to farmers Farmer setting out to work on his tractorthis year as it has more than doubled in price in a year, and it also appears to be in short supply and suppliers aren't able to get there usual supplies to sell to farmers.  This is partly to blame because of word energy prices going up, but also because of the amount of extra arable production in China and the knock on effect that this has had on their requirements for fertilizer products.  This extra cost, along with the rise in fuel that we need for our tractors means that our costs of production have risen excessively this year, so although the prices that we receive for our products have gone up, they have not risen at the same rate as our costs so profits will be reduced.  A typical tractor on our farm has a 250 litters diesel tank of which we will use around 220 litres in a typical busy day where we are cultivating land for a whole day.  If you compare this to an average car that your parents drive, their cars will have a fuel tank of about 40-50 litres which will probably last them a whole week or more.  As you can see we use a lot of diesel.

Up until April we had our cattle inside in sheds, mainly to save the fields from becoming wet and muddy with them paddling all day everyday, and allowing the grass to have a rest.  We turned out some of our younger cattle from the sheds to the fields during April.  It's always nice to see this because as soon as they realise they are in a field, they all go galloping around which is always nice to see them having fun.

Southampton City Council
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