Well, the lambing has finished and all the ewes are out on fresh pasture with their lambs. Calving has just begun with a beautiful White Park heifer to start us off and then a lovely pair of Traditional Hereford twins. As our animals are rare breeds we use Artificial Insemination sometimes to preserve certain bloodlines. All our early calves are from A.I. and this year had got off to a very successful start.
Also, up on the Ranges, the spring barley has germinated. We have some beautiful cowslips that are out now and our chalk downland will continue to produce a huge diversity of plants and wildlife throughout the year. Chalk grassland only occurs on thin soils covering chalk rocks. As rainwater soaks through the chalk it takes with it the minerals needed for plants to grow. So the plants which do manage to grow on this poor soil are in strong competition with their neighbours for the plant foods which they need.
This high level of competition results in very many different types of plants growing in a small area because no one plant can outgrow the others. If the soil was deeper and richer or if fertiliser was put on, a few strong plants would take over and the variety would be lost.
We are privileged to be farming and living on Salisbury Plain and our task is to maintain this diversity and increase biodiversity.
We are progressing with the build of our holiday let and have incorporated our bee bricks into the back wall of the building.
As you know we farm with rare and native breeds on this farm and this month we focus on one of our sheep breeds - the Manx Loaghtan.
Manx Loaghtan is one of a group of Northern short-tailed primitive breeds of sheep. They grazed the Isle of Man for generations as they coped with the rough grazing. They are very hardy and lamb easily.
Their name describes them well, Manx being their place of origin and Loaghtan is the Manx word for 'moorit' which is the colour of the wool. They are horned sheep and can have up to six horns.
These days they are used for conservation grazing and are easy to care for having very good feet and hardly ever being bothered by fly strike. We use them on our home paddocks which have had horses grazing on them until very recently. They are helping to re-establish the pasture which will have wild flowers reintroduced this autumn. So watch this space for further progress...