Welcome back to Dereks Diary

It’s been a few years since I sat down to write about whats down whats been happening on the farm. I suppose the best place to start would be to give a run down on where we are at now…

The biggest thing that happened us was a neighbouring farm came up for sale, there is 42 acres and a old farm house on it and it was joining up to our farm so after a lot of will we won’t we conversations we put a bid after a few more bids and over and back we finally got to buy  it. The land needed a good bit of work, half of it was rocky and needed reclaiming so we got to work on it the last 2 years and it has turned out great.

We are still rearing hereford and angus calves from the dairy herd and its suiting us very well. For those of you thats not familiar with how this works, we get the calves at approx 3 weeks old and put them on powdered milk for approx 2 months or until they hit 100kg in weight. We bought an automatic feeder last year which mixes the milk fresh for each calf individually . Each Calf gets a electronic tag in there ear and when they walk into the feed station it mixes up there allocation, They get fed 4 times a day and it leaves a length of time between each feed so it knows when to give a feed to the calf and when not to. When they come off the machine they go onto a grass diet and some meal to keep them growing for the summer.We would also bought in some augus and hereford heifers around a year old and are keeping them for about a year until they are ready for slaughter.

We keep approx 350 breeding sheep which produces around 525 lambs for us.We have a mix of breeds, ewes are mostly suffolk/llyen  crosses and we put texel and charolais rams on them to produce the lambs we need for the shop.We start lambing in late January  early February and go right through until the end of march so we have a supply of lambs all year round.

At the moment we have 5 duroc x sows and a duroc boar.We hope to get 2 litters per year out of them with around 10 to 12 piglets each time. They are usually ready for slaughter at about 6 to 7 months of age. They all have access to an area outside to root around in and they love it.

We have swiched over to winter barley as it suits our system best. We sow around 20 acres. We use all the grain and straw on the farm so we put back the nutrients it takes to grow it by spreading the manure we have from bedding the calfs, sheep and turkeys in the winter time. We rotate the fields so its 4 years barley and then back to grass. This way we are always reseeding fields with new grass.

Thats just a quick review on where we are at on the farm.
I will be doing Dereks diary from time to time to let you know whats happening on the farm and also keep a eye out on social media for more of the day to day goings on.
Thats all for now.