Drovers Roads

02 May 2021

April has been the driest, sunniest and coldest month for years, with 18 consecutive night frosts and some biting easterly wind. Keeping grass growth down and crops which have been waterlogged over winter, looking for moisture with limited roots to do so.

Lambing has all but finished with a few surprise lambs from a group which were never near the breeding tups – so there must have been a “Rigg” or ram lamb which was missed when we were sorting them last year. Still all bonus lambs…

Almost all of our cattle are back outside after some months housed in straw bedded sheds. Seeing over 200 calves returning to pasture for their second summer is a sight as they run up the road from the farm steading to summer grazing. At one time – drovers’ roads were the only means of moving livestock and an industry developed around this annual “droving”. Skilled people moved thousands of cattle and sheep along these roads for hundreds of miles. Not quite on the same scale, but a few hundred meters is still full of potential mishaps!

The team here have been busy over the last month and we are always grateful to have so many people who are skilled with such varied roles. With all of the spring cereals planted, attention turned to installing water and troughs to fields which have not seen livestock for at least 50 years – Fencing boundaries and at the same time keeping animals fed, bedded and in maternity wards.

New technology in agriculture continues to be embraced and in contrast to the perception that livestock are low tech and crops are high-tech – we have been getting to grips with electronic tagging and locating groups of animals on farm apps where all information from birth to medicine treatments are recorded in real-time.

With the country beginning to open up and regain some sense of normality, we are delighted to see the population of the East Neuk grow again with the visitors enjoying spectacular scenery, beautiful villages and the best produce the are has to offer. Surely the growth in staycations will showcase what we sometimes all take for granted and people will return year on year.

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