NOT a great deal has changed over the last two weeks! The mainly wet, miserable weather has continued. Another 70 mm of rainfall has kept the fields really wet and soggy, with the likelihood of planting any more of our winter cereal crops looking more unlikely as the days go by. There have been occasional spells of sunshine, but these have been few and far between. We even woke to a sprinkle of snow one morning.

On Manor Farm Ian received notification that four of our recently purchased Angus X calves would have to be TB tested once again. It was only a short time ago that the calves were pre-movement tested before they were able to be moved onto our farm. The test on these four calves has been triggered by inconclusive or positive tests on their dams, but fortunately the four animals emerged with clear test results, a great relief to us all.

A recent visit from our livestock agent during the past two weeks confirmed that another group of our older Angus X beef cattle were ready to be sold. They have since found a market and were collected by the purchaser a few days ago. We have also sold a few large round bales of straw, but Ian is not sure if we have any more bales surplus to our requirements .

Our 15-month-old Devon Red cattle have up to this point been loose housed in a yarded area of our cubicle barn. When I met up with Ian at the barn one day we discussed whether they would now be big enough to be housed in a cubicle area, as do our older Angus X cattle. We made the decision to open the gate and allow them to wander through to the cubicles. They were observed for some time before it was decided that they looked happy in their new beds. Having freed up the loose bedded area we may purchase another small group of weaned Angus X calves, so we get a succession of finished animals through the year.

Another job Ian has done was to contact someone from Wiltshire Council about a flooded road adjacent to one of our field gates. It has flooded in the same place for decades, the flood going right across the road. Apparently we have been told there is "An Action Plan", so we will have to wait and see what happens!

During the last two weeks, Kevin and his father Francis have been tidying up the barns ready for more sheep to be brought in from the fields. Most of the wethers (castrated ram lambs) are already under cover, divided into groups for finishing. They are being fed a diet of hay and concentrate. A large group of "light lambs " (lambs weighing about 30k) have been sold into the European market, where these lightweight animals are popular The flock of 201 ewes due to give birth in January 2020 have just been scanned at 170% . The scan showed that 93 are carrying twins, 31 triplets, 62 singles and 15 are barren. Kevin is very pleased with the result, as these ewes are the older ones. Ian recently helped Kevin and Francis, not forgetting the collies, to gather the main flock ewes due to give birth in March to remove the rams. The rams were running with these ewes for 34 days, which covered two reproductive cycles. The rams have been brought into one of the barns where they will stay for a few weeks to settle down before going out to fresh pasture. While in they will be kept a close eye on and fed a diet of hay and home grown peas.