From One Season To The Next

06 May 2022

Calving and lambing are now drawing to an end with just the last few animals left to give birth. After such a lovely spring with very few wet days, both the cattle and sheep look great. It is with huge thanks to the team here who are charged with looking after over 4000 head of livestock both night and day – that we have so many young animals on the ground.

As soon as one season finishes – the next begins, with the heifers due to calve next February, joined by the bulls at the end of April. These Heifers have spent the whole year outside, turned out in April 2021 – they have worked their way from the top to the bottom of the estate and back up again. We aim to do much more of this in future – keeping as many as possible outside on grass.

Adding to the grass area, Andy has been busy planting new grass leys into green cover crops, with the intention that we will graze them in the winter. Once this is complete, he will turn attention to planting the Corn Bunting cover and Wild Bird Seed mixes which sustain the farmland bird population over the winter and provide brood cover in the spring.

Jeremy has completed the spring Partridge pair count for the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust – the native Grey Partridge, once abundant on farmland has declined 80% or more since the 1970’s. As an “indicator species” we monitor numbers of breeding pairs in the spring (they pair for life) and then count the number of

chicks in each brood in the autumn. From this we learn how well they breed, feed chicks and survive the winter from predation. If the partridges are doing well – so too are many of the other farmland bird species. 2022 shows a record of 55 breeding pairs – so here’s hoping for a successful hatch in May.

Chris has been enjoying the new forestry equipment which arrived late last month. Using a small Alpine tractor and matching trailer, he is now able to access small areas of woodland to manage them without the need to clear wide tracks and he can do light, frequent thinning’s

Joining us this month is Will Hyles from Booroomba Station near Canberra in Australia. Coming from a large sheep station in OZ to Fife brings some fascinating learning in both directions. Will is on his pre-college year and no doubt will return with a Fife twang!

Not top of everyone’s wish list is Heath and Safety. However, with 52 deaths in the past 12 mon

ths, the agricultural industry is not doing well – so when we were visited by the HSE to undertake a spot inspection, it was relieving to know that we had been making improvements and maintaining records. Its not a comfortable few hours having the place inspected, but it does make sure we keep up standards and for that we are grateful.

The final stages of the new food production units at Bowhouse are being completed with the first businesses due to move in before the May Food Weekend. As we like to ensure that last minute – just – in – time work is scheduled in – the windows are being fitted on the Thursday before the market. What could possibly go wrong?


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