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April 2012 - Posts - Soil Association Apprentice

Soil Association Apprentice

Emma Heseltine blogs during her placement at Hadrian Organics

April 2012 - Posts

We have nearly used all the silage at Wallacefield. Now I know the cattle love it but it’s a massive pain, we don’t have a tractor so we pull the bales apart by hand and fill the quad trailer with it, and then take it out to the cattle. We hadn’t intended to have any silage, we normally have small baled hay and some Hayledge, both of these have the advantage of being easy to handle and move about. The wet weather last summer meant that the last cut never got dry enough, hence silage rather than waste. The last bale is now open and the end is in sight.

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The spring barley went in last week on the Park at Wallacefield. It’s been rolled too, not by me this time and the next job is to get rid of some of the boulders that have turned up. We track back and forth picking them up then move onto the winter oats to get the smaller ‘combine breakers.’ The oats are looking great; about ankle high now, although there is the usual crop of docks poking through. It was wet and now they are really too far along so the field never got rolled. There are lots of smallish stones that could be caught by the combine in the summer and cause massive problems.

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I’m at Willowford and one of the Dorset’s is having her lambs. I bring them into the shed as the weather is foul, hail and wind, not good lamb weather. The second of the lambs is looking a bit limp and lifeless, it’s moving about but without much enthusiasm. We milk mum and tube some colostrum into it in the hope of perking it up. It improves a little but seems too cold so Lauren decides we should implement a trick we learnt on our lambing course, the bucket. We get some warm water in a bucket and pop the lamb in. The important thing is to not leave it to drown but hold its head up.

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I’m moving some of the Ewe’s and their lambs to the hay meadow at Tarraby. They stay in the pens a couple of days so we can make sure that the lambs are okay, that the ewe is mothering them properly and we can give them a pedicure. Then they can go out into the field and enjoy the new grass. I’ve been doing some of the foot trimming and I can tell you it is not easy to tip a mule, they are big sheep and they are most unappreciative of my efforts.

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We have started the week with more excitement at the Croft. The other week I had a phone call from Tim Perrett at the Soil Association. I met him at a seminar during the winter and he was telling me about a project based on the very popular lambing live which was on TV the last couple of years. There isn’t one planned this year so the Soil Association have planned to do an online version themselves. Tim rang because his original farm had to drop out and they wondered if I would be interested in helping out.

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