Thursday, 28 March 2013

Cold March

According to the weather station the mean for March is just 1.6C currently which is about 4C below average and colder than any of the winter months which were only average or below.
The sheep are due to start lambing next week and there is practically no grass so it will be difficult for them with more feeding required and attendant problems with mis-mothering.

Meanwhile the calving has been going reasonably well apart from one that decided she didn't like her calf sucking.
It's a good strong one though and is managing to get plenty at least while I have her shut in on her own.
One last night was a few days before time and quite small.
It had got a bit chilled but has soon improved under a heat lamp.

The IP Cam is proving very useful to keep an eye on expectant and recently calved cows. Often as not it shows all is quiet or calves you were not sure about have been busily sucking when they thought no-one was looking!
It can be viewed on a smartphone either on the home wifi or phone data if out and needing to check.

Here's how it looks on the phone - either at home on wifi or away on mobile data

Saturday, 16 March 2013

IP Camera in calving shed

Not sure how robust this will be long term but already it has proved useful in showing that a calf born this morning which I was a little concerned wasn't finding milk is managing pretty well when no-one is looking!

It runs on WiFi linked from the house over the mains cables by Homeplugs.
When light gets too low, Infra Red comes on automatically.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Schmallenberg Virus report

Richard Findlay interviewed for BBC Look North broadcast 15th March

Friday, 1 March 2013

Sheep again

Took 14 lambs Ruswarp on Monday and they were up a little more but still not as good as last year by a way.
They made £65 and £68 for two pens at 42 and 35kg.
Must get the ewes Heptavac vaccine done soon too, have it ready in the fridge.

Slurry spreading

It’s been a very difficult winter for getting any slurry out with any frosty spells not arriving until there was a fair depth of snow so the ground below was still very wet.

Consequently the pit is now brim-full and 2 or 3 times I have needed to use the loader to pile some frozen snow and slurry mix in as it cannot be moved with the scraper.

Yesterday I intended to start by drawing out some water so that it can be safely stirred without sloshing over the edge.
However to get the pipe in I needed to dig away some of the semi-solid stuff I’d shovelled in last month.

Anyway after getting one rotaspreader load of that out, I broke through into the green water under the crust, at first this seemed mildly annoying as it began to flood the working area, then I realised that the flow was such that it was also getting over the concrete lip and running down my track towards the road!

After a moment of indecision I managed to block the main flow off and divert from the track down the field – and only a small amount got to the road which I also let off onto the field.

Since it was still almost level full I hitched the tanker on and got two loads out which made things look more under control.
Then when I started drawing load three the vacuum pump made a very strange noise and suddenly stopped working!

Today Dave from George Agar came out first thing and we unbolted it and he took it back to the shop to work on – I was really surprised when he got back with it fixed soon after 2pm!
It was a fairly simple job involving replacing vanes by the sound of it.
we tested it on a load then later today I sucked out another 5 loads so all is safe now ready to stir and have  a proper spreading session very soon.

It still seems very sticky after the recent frost/snow melt and drizzle although basically no longer very wet like late last year.
We just need a dry breezy day really.
So I might have a couple of days spreading manure piles on the stubble which does not involve constantly going in and out of fields dragging mud onto the road.