Well, we're still in lockdown, some of us have had our jabs and some still waiting but the farm carries on regardless.
This February we went clear on our TB test and can rest easy for another year. As well as checking for TB we also take blood tests on the farm to make sure we are free of other infectious diseases and can call ourselves a high health herd. Bovine diseases cause significant losses in the beef industry and as a pedigree breeder we like to sell our breeding stock as free of certain diseases. The diseases we test for are BVD -Bovine Viral Diarrhoea, IBR - an upper respiratory tract disease, Johnes - a wasting disease and Leptospirosis which causes infertility and abortion.
We have had our first calf now which means the cattle won the race between them and the sheep to see who could produce their young first.
Our Traditional Hereford cattle come from the original population of Herefords. A dedicated group of farmers brought them back from the brink of extinction and they are now numerically sound. Traditional Herefords originated in the Welsh Marches and were bred to be a medium sized, very hardy animal which thrives in its natural habitat.
In the 60's North American bloodlines were introduced to increase the size of the animals. Very soon the original population of Traditional Hereford was virtually extinct.
Luckily the Hereford Herd book had marked the remaining animals with original bloodlines. This meant that when breeders wanted to preserve and grow the original population they were easy to trace.
We have a herd of 31 females which seem to thrive on the harsh conditions here of Salisbury Plain. Native breeds are essential for the maintenance of our natural habitat and are used to aid biodiversity. We believe that it is important to conserve the genetics of our native breeds.
Our ewes are all in ready for lambing. Some are quite large now so pretty soon we're going to be busy at all hours of the day and night...
Lastly, all our spring oats have been sown after leaving the fields with winter stubble for the seed eating birds. Winter stubbles provide a good source of food for wildlife. Birds such as skylarks and yellowhammers use the stubble as well as brown hares and other wildlife.
As you can see this seems to be our busiest month - at least we don't get bored ! Hopefully we are all working through this past year's awfulness and can attempt some sort of normality this year.