Three hundred of the ewes due to give birth towards the end of March were moved to fresh pasture whilst a group of 200 were brought under cover and housed in the yard on Manor Farm, which was originally used as a pre-milking collecting area for our dairy herd.

There are now only a few of the first flock of 500 left to have their lambs, so Kevin has rearranged the allocation of yard space within the barn to make things a little easier to manage.

A market was also sorted out for most of the remaining sheep that will be culled, these will leave the farm as soon as our agent has found a suitable buyer and arranged transport to collect them.

Three of the ewes in the group of pets have also given birth. Palini and Rosie gave birth to twin ram lambs whilst Buttercup had a single, which was also a boy.

During the week Kevin and his father, Francis logged onto a webinar. Two vets were giving information on how to best deal with abortions in breeding ewes, also highlighting problems that can occur at lambing. This was based on how to make sure each lamb gets the best start in life, one of the main things to help this process is to ensure every lamb receives adequate colostrum within a few hours of birth. Colostrum is the pre-milk liquid produced by mammals when they give birth, which is full of immune-enhancing antibodies and an essential balance of growth nutrients. The antibodies are best absorbed by the newborn lambs within the first 2 hours of birth, waning rapidly after this time .

Some maintenance jobs have been done. An engineer came out to the farm to give Kevin's fork lift vehicle a full service. It is essential that all machinery used on the farm is maintained regularly, for safety and to ensure it is in good working order.

Ian has spent quite a lot of time clearing ditches especially where there are large patches of standing water nearby. He has been pleased with his efforts , with almost immediate reduction in the amount of water that had accumulated nearby.

My grandson Dominic is currently studying Agriculture at Newcastle University. He is now in his final year and is a little disappointed that the Covid 19 pandemic has impacted somewhat on his course.

He was going to work on a farm over the last summer break, but this was not possible. All his learning has been online which has meant that he has been able to continue learning, however all the agriculture students were going to visit some of the large companies delivering products and research.

Visiting these work places would have proven valuable for making decisions on their careers. The reason I have mentioned this is that Dominic recently had to do an assignment on arable weeds. Part of this was to be able to identify 20 particularly injurious weeds , some monocotyledons and some dicotyledons.

Once these weeds are mature it is quite easy to name them, but when growing a crop the identification has to be made very early on, when the plants may only have their first two or four leaves.

Unfortunately the students haven't been able to spend time in fields with lecturers , which has meant the identification and gathering of photographs has been difficult . Another problem is that very few seeds are germinating at the moment.

Dominic did contact Kevin who was able to help him identify some weeds. Hopefully with this helpful information he was able to submit a good assignment .

A reminder that The Big Farmland Bird Count is taking place over the first two weeks of February. Farmers have been asked to spend 30 minutes in a place on their farms to identify and give totals of the different bird species they see during that time.