Happy New Year to all our lovely customers!
Our delicious Ruby Red Devon Beef is once again available week commencing 14th January with deliveries being made on Thursday 17th. We have a great range of cuts available including Steaks,Joints, stewing beef and mince. Visit our online shop here to place your order.
The battle against TB
With 2018 now done our attention turns to 2019. I've mentioned previously that we have been experiencing a few issues with Bovine TB and this continues to be the case. Following the isolated result last summer where one of our cows recorded an inconclusive result (neither pass or fail) on two occasions, resulting in it being classed as an overall fail we had to have it culled. This meant that we were required to undertake a whole herd test in October to see if there were any other cases present. Unfortunately another of our cows failed the test and again had to be culled from the herd. Luckily on both occasions the calves of these cows were older enough to be weaned so didn't require bottle feeding. Having received the abattoir reports from these two animals it was reassuring to learn that none had shown any signs of having TB legions so there is a chance that both may not have had TB at all (the TB test is unfortunately not 100% accurate). As a result of these failed tests we are now in the cycle of having to test every animal on the farm every 60 days until we have two tests where all the animals pass. Our next test is next week so we're keeping everything crossed for a clean bill of health!
The period of dry weather enabled us to crack on with hay making, and thankfully we got this all finished before the rains came! Dry weather is essential for making good quality hay, as unlike silage, the grass needs to be totally dry before baling so that it doesn’t go mouldy. The hay is made in small bales and left unwrapped (as we want it to stay dry, not pickle itself like silage!). This year we have made approximately 900 small bales which will be primarily sold for horse feed. If you’re interested in seeing videos of the hay making process check out our Facebook page.
The clocks have sprung forward and we have entered the month of May, but sadly the warm spring weather seems like a distant memory! Down on the farm Robert and James remain busy as they prepare for the cattle to be turned out in to the fields. Fences are being checked and repaired to ensure there are no escapees, and fields are being checked to make sure there is enough grass to nourish the cattle. Grass growth has been a bit slow due to the lack of rain … yep, a farmer is never happy with the weather! It really is a beautiful sight seeing the cattle being moved in to the fields – they love to frolic and play in their new environment so keep your eyes peeled in the fields around Northmoor if you’re lucky enough to live locally.
It’s all go down on the farm as we head out of March and in to April. Calving is now in full flow and so far we have welcomed 15 heifers and 8 bulls to the herd, including a gorgeous set of twins! Calving is a busy time of year for James and Robert – much like midwives on a maternity ward, they have to check the cows multiple times a day just in case any of the cows are coming in to difficulty and need assistance with their labours. This includes checks throughout the night at 10pm, 2am and again at 7am … they say there’s no rest for the wicked! Only another 25 to go!
Don't you just love Autumn and the beautiful misty mornings an evenings! Keep up to date with all our latest photographs of the farm by following us on facebook and twitter. With the weather turning colder and the grass growth slowing right down we have started to bring the cattle back into the sheds for the winter. During the winter months they will be bedded down on lovely clean straw to sleep on and fed on a diet of grass silage and hay. Grass silage is grass which has been cut in the summer and then bailed up into large round bales before being wrapped in black plastic. By wrapping it in plastic it ensures no air can get to the grass and means that the grass ferments making it lovely and rich for the cattle to enjoy eating. It has quite a pungent smell to it but the cattle really do love it! By feeding them this we ensure that the cattle maintain a grass diet all throughout the year.