Having had a dry early start to the year, as these things happen it turned wet as silage time approached. So 10-12 days later than it should have been grass bulked up a bit more with more stalk & fibre to it - but it filled the clamp with 100 big bales as well. We rely on contractors to do this & they are always very obliging the grass into the clamp going through a Forage wagon. The chop length is greater than a precision chop machine but it does not seem to be an issue feeding it to the sheep. Anything not suitable for the sheep goes to our herd of Pedigree Dexter cattle which with followers usually numbers between 40 &50. The beef from the herd is either sold as freezer packs or to Swaledale Foods at Skipton who are supplying top class restaurants in London.
Funny looking Charollais you say - but having mentioned the Dexters I thought I would introduce you to our other breed of sheep which son Stephen describes as Dad`s pets - these are our small flock of pedigree Teeswaters numbering 20 ewes which we have run for quite some years now. The Teeswater is the sire of the masham halfbred ewe - an extremely hard wearing commercial ewe - quite prolific & good milkers producing lambs with excellent loins. The Masham incidentally crosses very well with the Charollais for butchers lamb production. One other item worthy of mention is that the Teeswater has what is known as a lustre wool which is highly sought after for spinning.
We lamb our Teeswaters in March/April & the ram lamb pictured was the last of nine ram lambs to be sold in 2017
Harvest started well & just when we thought it was all going to be quickly wrapped up it rained again, so the last of our straw wasn`t baled until the end of October. Maybe it generates patience!
Our 2016 success at Skipton female sale was repeated this year when Ben James of Tenbury Wells Worcs. tapped out the 1st prize ewe lamb as Champion & the 1st prize shearling ewe ( a Foulrice Majestic daughter ) as reserve.He subsequently backed his judgement by taking the champion at 700gns & also the 2nd prize ewe lamb (a Foulrice Osprey daughter) at 800gns.He also bought the reserve champion by commission for 1200gns which was the top price for the sale.
Rounding the year off we were once again honoured to be awarded in the flock competition,Champion Flock of the Northern Region for the second year running.