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Going into winter

Well, November has been extremely wet this year and the ground is saturated. It means that we are very careful with the land and try not to drive on the grassland unless we have to. I use my gator to check the sheep as the farm cars are too heavy. All the arable land is resting until the spring when we'll be planting spring oats. It's a new variety, Elyann, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it will do.

The rams are in with the ewes and lambing next year will be in April. In a couple of weeks the rams will come out and all the ewes will come back together into one group. The ewes will stay outside until a few weeks before lambing and then come inside to be comfortable during lambing. We'll be keeping a careful eye on their condition from now on and increase their feed when necessary.

We have sold some store cattle and while they were undergoing their TB test we blood tested our new White Park bull. Our cattle are on a high health scheme which means all of them are tested for major endemic cattle diseases - IBR, BVD, Johne's Disease and Leptospirosis. All our animals have to pass these tests to stay on the farm. We are very proud of our native breeds of cattle which are all pasture fed and bred here on the farm on Salisbury Plain.

Our 'Flowers from the Farm' enterprise has been tidied up and put to bed until the spring. There may be some early sowing of seeds but our work really begins next year.

In the new year our other new diversification will be ready for its launch - Cliffe Farm Dairy holiday let.

As I've said in earlier blogs over the last year we have been renovating an old brick dairy building which was falling down. The project was part funded by a grant and will bring new life to a small unused farmyard and provide employment as well as supporting local businesses. We are about to launch its own website and the Facebook page is already up and running.

We hope you all have a lovely Christmas and best wishes from the farm for a Happy New Year.

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