Bill and Jonathan Metcalf
rent 89ha (220 acres) of
grassland, plus moorland
grazing, near Barnard
Castle, and own a further
unit 12 miles away, both
are situated in the Less
Favoured Area of Teesdale.
Farms are stocked with 120
sucklers, including 20
dAquitaines, and 1200
ewes with 200 replacements
WE have recently sold most of the Mule hoggets with single lambs, which means we have more grass and have not applied any more nitrogen at Barningham.
These hoggets with lambs were more than three times the price of the big tupping lambs we sold last October, with running lambs sold this spring being double the price.
The running lambs were tagged in late March and when they went less than two months later, an unbelievable 20-30% had lost their tags without a single damaged ear. So much for using cheaper tags which were bought mainly for lambs going to slaughter last year.
We have had a change in the number of cows we are carrying since entering into a stewardship scheme. These cows will be spending almost a full year on retention as we claimed in the last few days of the period in 2001 and intend to claim early for 2002, as we have retained sufficient heifers to fill our quota.
We now have less than 100 suckler cows and have found claimed heifers, which have been fattened this spring, have paid as well as, if not better, than bull calves.
The excitement of the World Cup has been a welcome distraction from the usual routine along with the odd games of cricket which manage to escape the weather. So far our team has a 100% record for losing. Every game arranged seems to coincide with wet weather and no doubt when the sun does come out we will miss them due to clipping, haymaking and silaging.
With this in mind, we have acquired a new Case tractor to put on the round baler. This is our first purchase since we bought High Shipley, but we were losing gears on our old Same which moves on after long and distinguished service. Hopefully the new one will last as long and be as reliable. *
Bill and Jonathan Metcalf have managed few games of cricket this season and when weather is fine, they expect to be shearing, haymaking or silaging.