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John Geldard

20 November 1998

John Geldard

John Geldard and family farm

175ha (430 acres) near

Kendal in the Lake District.

Stock now comprises of 100

suckler cows with progeny

finished alongside 200+

bought in stores, 1000 ewes

– 160 pedigree Charollais

plus Llyens – and ewe lamb

replacements, with a 25,000

bird poultry enterprise

DURING the last few days the weather has slightly improved, but rarely a day goes by without rain.

Our ground is water logged and our sheep look sick of the rain. They must be fed up with never having a dry base to stand on. I believe it is certainly having an effect on the condition of lambs which we are currently marketing.

Prices are still daunting, at a time when we would have expected to see them moving slightly forward. The lambs we are marketing are pure Lleyn wethers and Charollais cross Lleyns which have all achieved 75p/kg plus, with a few reaching over 80p/kg. These prices were for lambs sold in the last week of October and the first week in November.

In mid-October, I had the pleasant duty of judging the Welsh Charollais flock competition which took me to most corners of Wales. The weather was not good, but fortunately it was the week before severe flooding.

At the beginning of November I spent two days at the British Charollais Society autumn council meeting in Norfolk assessing the results of the sales season. Irrespective of the state of the industry, Charollais breeders generally have little to complain about.

We have just housed our first batch of Charollais ewes which are due to lamb in December. They certainly look happier than their flock mates who are still outside.

Our new building project was completed on November 6, allowing us to house the remaining cattle. During the last few weeks we have continued to buy in store cattle and are now full to capacity.

One unexpected development, which we could well have done without, was our old Kidd feeder deciding to die. My sons, Richard and Charles, informed me that we should replace it with a diet feeder. Keenan was the preferred choice, with its rep adamant it can produce improved margins on finished cattle fed through a Keenan. The boys won, and I lost, so Keenan is now on trial. &#42

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John Geldard

5 June 1998

John Geldard

John Geldard and family farm

175ha (430 acres) near

Kendal in the Lake District.

Stock now comprises of 100

suckler cows with progeny

finished alongside 200+

bought in stores, 1000 ewes

– 160 pedigree Charollais

plus Llyens – and ewe lamb

replacements, with a 25,000

bird poultry enterprise.

SHEEP have been sheared and dipped, and lambs wormed. The Charollais lambs look to be doing well this spring and we had some very pleasing results when the MLC came to scan them in the middle of May.

A ram that we bought as a lamb in 1996, Flourice Statesman, was used extensively after considerable success in the show ring last year when he took several championships. He has done extremely well improving scan weight, muscle depth and reducing fat depth, and on top of that they are good lambs.

We have recently purchased a red-and-white sheep dog puppy already looking keen to work, and we all know the value of a good dog.

When reading Farmers Weekly, May 22, I was appalled to see Tesco is up to its old tricks again, trying to rubbish the auction mart system. It would be so much easier if Tesco would only speak the truth and say that what it really wants is full control of the market.

It would probabaly be a good idea if farmers used the same tactics as Tesco and restricted direct sales to it. I feel that farmers must realise how important the auction mart system really is. Dont be fogged off by people like David Sawday saying livestock auctions are not needed.

If anyone unsure about the value of auction marts they should just look at the price of lamb over the last two months – which was much better than Mr Tesco or even the MLC predicted. Make no mistake, the only place to set the price is in the open auction mart.

I am pleased to report the new silage building is now complete. It has been a major project along with the routine farm work and would not have been possible without the dedication and commitment from our excellent team of workers.

We have been spraying docks and nettles. When we moved to Foulshaw 10 years ago there were acres and acres covered with nettles but we are now mananging to bring under control. &#42

John Geldard is pleased with the performance of lambs sired by his Charollais tup which was a big show-ring success last year.

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John Geldard

8 May 1998

John Geldard

John Geldard and family farm

175ha (430 acres) near

Kendal in the Lake District.

Stock now comprises of 100

suckler cows with progeny

finished alongside 200+

bought in stores, 1000 ewes

– 160 pedigree Charollais

plus Llyens – and ewe lamb

replacements, with a 25,000

bird poultry enterprise

SPRING grass has certainly slowed down, if not gone backwards, during April with the east winds, frosty mornings and wet conditions we should have had in February.

Nature has its own way of balancing things out, but when you hear about the flooding, etc, that our fellow farmers have had to suffer in other parts of the country, we have not done to badly.

For the first time at Foulshaw we have had more cattle indoors rather than out on May 1.

We have just sold the last of our clean beef and so that is that until the grass finishers are ready, apart from 34 of our own bulls we are selling at the moment, which is hard work. The beef price in the first four months of 1998 is abysmal. But it is hard to believe the price that store cattle are making. I am just pleased that I am not in the market for them at the moment.

On the sheep side we have also finished selling our early lambs. Things are not as bad as they looked in February, but are nothing to shout about.

We have also been busy with the routine work, all sheep have been through the turn-over crate for a foot trim and their tails cleaned and all lambs are due for their first worm dose this week.

Richard my eldest son has been foot trimming the cows and dehorning the calves before they go out to grass.

Work on the new silage shed is proceeding well with the floor and shuttered walls now complete. With budgets tight at the moment it is worth shopping around. The variation in price for concrete was as much as £7.50/m, a total price difference on the building of £2000 to £3000.

We have just emptied one of the poultry sheds, not very encouraging when the old hens are worth almost nothing. We also have this shed to upgrade to the Freedom Food standard in the next two weeks, leaving one shed to convert. &#42

John Geldard has just emptied one of his poultry sheds, and is converting it to Freedom Food standards, leaving only one unit to upgrade.

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John Geldard

10 April 1998

John Geldard

John Geldard and family farm

175ha (430 acres) near

Kendal in the Lake District.

Stock now comprises of 100

suckler cows with progeny

finished alongside 200+

bought in stores, 1000 ewes

– 160 pedigree Charollais

plus Llyens – and ewe lamb

replacements, with a 25,000

bird poultry enterprise.

John Geldard and family farm

175ha (430 acres) near

Kendal in the Lake District.

Stock now comprises of 100

suckler cows with progeny

finished alongside 200+

bought in stores, 1000 ewes

– 160 pedigree Charollais

plus Llyens – and ewe lamb

replacements, with a 25,000

bird poultry enterprise.

WITH lambing behind, with the exception of a few stragglers, the overall results look reasonable. We appeared to have more than our fair share of problems in the first week or so, but throughout the busy period they certainly excelled and did very well, and as a plus the weather was very good. Unfortunately, after one week the good weather came to an abrupt end and the rain returned leaving the ground very wet.

We were able to get all the land top dressed in the fine spell and there is a reasonable bite of grass for the sheep.

We recently sold some Lleyn ewe lambs to France, which was a plus with the current state of the market generally. Lets hope that the Llyens can perform in France as they do in Britain, if so I am sure the market will grow rapidly.

A visit from MAFF to do a sheep count was a job we could well have done without right in the busy week of lambing, however all were counted and were found to be satisfactory.

We have had our first lambs away on the spring lamb market with 41kg lambs making up to 134p/kg at the live auction mart.

Calving is in full swing with a few cows holding their cleansing, so we called the vet to take some blood samples. These revealed a deficiency in selenium which left a choice of an injection from the vet at £6 a head or treatment in the drinking water at a cost of £1 a head, the latter being preferred as £500 for the injections is not easy to find.

The major project on the farm at the moment is building a new silage pit. The steel frame has been erected and we are hoping for calm weather next week to put the roof on and then the floor and walls with shuttered concrete.

We are very conscious that the North Sheep event which we are hosting on June 3 is creeping up very quickly and that we will need to be ready. &#42

Lambing is finished and has gone well at Low Foulshaw says John Geldard.

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John Geldard

13 February 1998

John Geldard

John Geldard farms 175ha

(430-acres) near Kendal on

the southern edge of the

Lake District. Stock

comprises 50 suckler cows,

with progeny finished

alongside 300-400 bought-in

stores, 1000 ewes plus 250

ewe lamb replacements, of

which 160 are pedigree

Charollais, and a 25,000

bird poultry enterprise.

NEVER have I felt less enthusiastic about writing Farmer Focus than I do at the present time.

We are struggling to balance the books with the store cattle that we bought in the autumn and some are losing money after taking account of all the costs. But possibly we should be thankful that they were store cattle and not store lambs.

We have recently purchased some Limousin x in-calf heifers for replacements at some £300 less than last year which has got to be grim for the vendor, but with cull cows to go out of the herd it is grim at all ends.

We have experienced bad times before, such as in 1974, 1991 and 1992, but this is definitely the worst year I can recall.

I was at Perth bull sales last week as another bull is required. After much discussion with sons Richard and Charles about whether it should be a Charolais or a Limousin, and looking at the threats of future charges which are likely to be put at prime finished cattle, the decision was taken to stay with the Charolais. And going by the interest in the Charolais bulls at Perth, it was clear that our views were shared by many others.

Speaking of Perth, I think one point which rocked the bull sales most was the shock waves that came up the country from the NFU agm in London with regard to the statements made by the minister that really confirmed what many people already think – we have a government that doesnt care, and doesnt want to understand the plight of our industry and all those associated with it.

On the sheep front, all the main flock of ewes which are due to lamb in March are now housed and looking well. The small batch of Lleyn ewes that lambed in January have done very well – 51 ewes produced 105 lambs, with six lambs being reared on the automatic feeder.

We have just started excavating the site for the new silage clamp to be completed before North Sheep on June 3.

We have also just completed phase two of the hedge laying plan on our Countryside Stewardship scheme and in the next few weeks will be erecting the protective stock fencing. &#42

Between lambing, preparing to lamb and Perth bull sales its a busy time for John Geldard – but hes relieved he has no store lambs.

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John Geldard

16 January 1998

John Geldard

John Geldard farms 175ha

(430-acres) near Kendal.

Stock comprises 50 suckler

cows, with progeny finished

alongside 300-400 bought-in

stores, 1000 ewes plus 250

ewe lamb replacements, of

which 160 are pedigree

Charollais, and a 25,000

bird poultry enterprise.

John Geldard farms 175ha

(430-acres) near Kendal.

Stock comprises 50 suckler

cows, with progeny finished

alongside 300-400 bought-in

stores, 1000 ewes plus 250

ewe lamb replacements, of

which 160 are pedigree

Charollais, and a 25,000

bird poultry enterprise.

WET, wet and more wet. That seems to be the mood of the weather at the moment and the sheep are really making a puddle through the gateways.

After lambing the Charollais ewes in early December, we lambed a small batch of commercials the week before Christmas. The next batch is of just over 50 Llyens – all are bred pure and most of them were AId to our Royal Show Champion Wraycastle Magic. They are due to lamb in mid-January.

We have just scanned the main flock which is to lamb in March. Its not quite as heavy a crop as sometimes, with the ewes scanning at 198% and the shearlings at a 188% including barrens.

Just prior to tupping we spread a lot of FYM and poultry manure expecting it to get washed in and produce a good flush of grass. However, we got three weeks of dry, warm weather which resulted in a lot of the fields being rather scorched. Could this be the reason for a small percentage drop?

We have got the finished lambs down to just 27 and I am not sorry. The only bright spot on lamb finishing this year is that we have fed them on grain beet – the same as we finish our cattle on. Lambs have finished very well at a relatively low cost. Our best pen of Charollais x Llyens at Lancaster, on Dec 29 was 39kg and sold for £42 a head, £20 a head down on 12 months ago.

However, I do believe that as farmers we have made much progress during the last month in moving our protests from the ports and turning them into promotions of British food. The protests at the ports played a very important part in getting things moving, but at Heysham we felt after a week or so we had to change tactics.

We organised a short march into Kendal, our local market town, without disrupting the public. We had proper printed boards with the right sort of slogan – the main theme was to promote shops and stores that were backing British. The reception we received from the public was overwhelming and very encouraging, and therefore this is going to be repeated in other towns in the locality.

This morning I received my pay-slip from Lancaster Auction Mart for cattle and sheep sold this week. The deductions were commission of £259, which I believe is value for money. But I really scratch my head over the next column which reads "MLC levy £127". And after the progress of our successful promotion of British food, it just begs the question: Is it time for a real overhaul of the MLC? &#42

After receiving his pay-slip for cattle and sheep sold at market, John Geldard wonders if paying the MLC levy is worthwhile.

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John Geldard

19 December 1997

John Geldard

John Geldard farms 175ha

(430-acres) near Kendal on

the southern edge of the

Lake District. Stock

comprises 50 suckler cows,

with progeny finished

alongside 300-400 bought-in

stores, 1000 ewes plus 250

ewe lamb replacements, of

which 160 are pedigree

Charollais, and a 25,000

bird poultry enterprise.

WITH all cattle inside they appear to have settled to the winter environment. It would seem that the pneumonia vaccine has been successful as the cattle seem to have got off to a good start.

Lambing got off to a hectic start with the first batch of Charollais ewes almost completed although they scanned lighter than last year – 178% – there have been few problems, with lambs being generally good.

Last month I wrote of sticky markets. Well if last month was sticky, this month must be disastrous. The mood of farmers in the market is at an all time low. I have been to a number of meetings recently where there is nothing but doom and gloom.

The basic problem is the strong £ and that being the case the problem is not going to be resolved overnight. If we had a government that would support us in the same way as other European countries it would at least help the situation.

However I do firmly believe that there are two things that are very important at the moment. That is to support the NFU and secondly support our live auction mart system. We must not be driven down producer club lines by some of the supermarkets, which I believe would undermine our marketing ability, but at the same time a strong and united Farm Assurance Scheme will be very important to our industry.

We should not be critical of the multiples who have been extremely successful at purchasing their commodities. It is in our interest to be more successful at marketing.n

A government which would support agriculture in the same way as other European countries would help the current depressed situation says John Geldard.

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John Geldard

21 November 1997

John Geldard

John Geldard farms 175ha

(430-acres) near Kendal on

the southern edge of the

Lake District. Stock

comprises 50 suckler cows,

with progeny finished

alongside 300-400 bought-in

stores, 1000 ewes plus 250

ewe lamb replacements, of

which 160 are pedigree

Charollais, and a 25,000

bird poultry enterprise.

IN THE past month it has been change around for one of the poultry sheds. Its being updated to Freedom Food Standards, and at the same time we are replacing the old wooden wire nest boxes with willow roll-away ones.

All this puts a total cost on the shed of £17,000, and when one considers that the price of the spent hens has fallen by half in the last six months, it all takes a bit of living with. I suppose, however, that these circumstances are in line with the rest of agriculture at the moment.

That said, I do believe it is very important to supply what the market demands, and while the egg market is generally poor the demand for free-range eggs is quite reasonable.

Speaking of sticky markets, that must be a modest interpretation of the lamb prices in the month. We are now down to less than 200 lambs left, and I do feel we have fared pretty well in the last three weeks. Up to Nov 7 our better quality Charollais cross Llyens and pure bred Llyen wethers have been making from a 112p to a 118p/kg for 37-43kg lambs.

Its just as well that we have not too many lambs left, as we have just started feeding the Charollais ewes which are due to lamb in early December, and will be followed by a small batch of commercials prior to Christmas.

I also had the pleasant task of judging the South of Scotland Charollais flock competition in October; quite a hectic two days but a pleasure to see so many good quality sheep and some in the hands of up and coming enthusiastic young breeders.

We have been buying store cattle in the last month to the extent that we are over full, so it is a case of selling some prime cattle before we can house them all.

Next year we have been invited to host North Sheep, a task which I felt would have been soon enough in another five or six years. However, everyone on the farm has June 3 impressed in their minds, and no doubt it will be here in a crack. &#42

John Geldards poultry sheds have been updated to Freedom Food Standards – and the old wooden wire nest boxes have been replaced.

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John Geldard

24 October 1997

John Geldard

John Geldard farms 175ha

(430-acres) near Kendal on

the southern edge of the

Lake District. Stock

comprises 50 suckler cows,

with progeny finished

alongside 300-400 bought-in

stores, 1000 ewes plus 250

ewe lamb replacements, of

which 160 are pedigree

Charollais, and a 25,000

bird poultry enterprise.

AS THE WEATHER starts to change for the worse we cannot complain. It must have been the best spring, summer and autumn that I can ever remember.

Over the last two months we have increased the suckler cows to 100. The cows and heifers purchased have been bought with spring-born calves at foot to hopefully fit in with our system. In the last month all calves have been vaccinated with Imuresp RP and Torvac against RSV.

We have also started to buy store cattle during the past few weeks; only time will tell if this proves right or wrong. After seeing the end of a successful season in the sheep sales we are in full swing selling our wether lambs. Despite the prime lamb price dropping back, good fleshed lambs at the right weight are still quite good to sell.

However, the most concerning dilemma facing cattle and sheep finishers at this moment is some of the impracticable regulations im-posed upon us. The latest example is not being able to market wet lambs in the autumn of the year in parts of the country that have 70in rainfall. I feel that such scientific and technical advice can only come from people that failed to obtain a degree in practical common sense.n

In the last month John Geldard has vaccinated all calves against pneumonia – and he hopes that prevention is better than cure.

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John Geldard

26 September 1997

John Geldard

John Geldard farms 175ha (430-acres) near Kendal on the southern edge of the Lake District. Stock

comprises 50 suckler cows, with progeny finished

alongside 300-400 bought-in stores, 1000 ewes plus 250 ewe lamb replacements, of which 160 are pedigree Charollais, and a 25,000

bird poultry enterprise.

WITH Westmorland County Show behind us, that marked the end of the show season for us this year. The weather was good and the stock entry excellent, with over 340 cattle, and 660 sheep entries staged on our new show site at Crooklands just off the M6.

We were exhibiting Llyens and Charollais sheep, but as I am involved with organising the show it was up to sons, Richard and Charles to show the sheep. Apart from a fair share of rosettes they took the championship with the Llyen and reserve championship with the Charollais.

The first two Llyen sales got off to a good start, with buyers from far and wide showing interest in the breed. We had no reason to complain, with 150 ewe lambs averaging £89.73 and eight yearling rams averaging £793.00 – let us hope the rest of the sales continue in the same spirit.

As for finished cattle, things are not quite so bright. Even though prices have improved slightly, it is from a very low base.

We have just filled one of our feed stores with grain beet and with brewers grains at £13.50/t, which will no doubt help, but nevertheless the price differential between stores and finished cattle bares no relation. However, we are in the process of increasing the suckler cows so one is not quite as dependent on bought in stores.

We have been reseeding grass in the last month, putting down long-term leys. We normally like seeding to be complete before the end of August, but this year it was Sept 8, but with the nice steady rain in the last week we hope they will get off to a good start.

We have also been spreading some fields with treated sewage sludge applied by North West Water, along with all the rough muck which came out of the buildings in the spring. Hopefully this will give us a good flush of grass for the sheep throughout autumn and into early winter. &#42

After a good trade for the Geldard familys Lleyns, prices are not so bright for finished cattle – and theres no relation between store and finished prices.

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John Geldard

29 August 1997

John Geldard

John Geldard farms 175ha (430-acres) near Kendal on the southern edge of the Lake District. Stock

comprises 50 suckler cows, with progeny finished

alongside 300-400 bought-in stores, 1000 ewes plus 250 ewe lamb replacements, of which 160 are pedigree Charollais, and a 25,000

bird poultry enterprise.

John Geldard farms 175ha (430-acres) near Kendal on the southern edge of the Lake District. Stock

comprises 50 suckler cows, with progeny finished

alongside 300-400 bought-in stores, 1000 ewes plus 250 ewe lamb replacements, of which 160 are pedigree Charollais, and a 25,000

bird poultry enterprise.

LAST month I commented that we had started the next building plan, a slurry store, and we were hoping for good weather. Good weather we certainly got, but nearly too hot to work.

We had debated as to whether it should be a pit in the ground or a slurry tower. The determining factor was the poultry sheds. We restock the sheds on a set timetable throughout the year, and it is always possible that ground conditions may not be right to spread the manure. With a pit rather than a tower we have the option to tip the poultry manure and store it, which is why we chose that option.

The pit is now cast in the ground so that the slurry from the cubicle sheds will flow in by gravity without pumping – the less mechanism the better as far as I am concerned.

The weather has also allowed us to make second cut silage with a good wilt, which has all been big baled. The reason for this is two-fold; first cut was so good that the earth-walled silage clamp was almost full, and second, we are considering building a proper silage pit on the site of the earth walled silage pit next year.

This will go a long way towards completing the new farm steading. Completion was originally about three years off, but being asked to hold North Sheep next year has certainly focussed our minds on the job.

On the sheep side, all have been dipped for the second time this year. It is fair to say we are all concerned about dipping – there is really nothing to beat it.

Next week we are into the first of the Lleyn Sheep Sales, with just over 300 to prepare for the sales at two markets – including Carlisle. &#42

John Geldard is busy preparing 300 Lleyns for upcoming sales. Farm building work has also been on the agenda – with a new pit slurry store nearing completion.

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John Geldard

1 August 1997

John Geldard

John Geldard farms 175ha (430-acres) near Kendal on the southern edge of the Lake District. Stock

comprises 50 suckler cows, with progeny finished

alongside 300-400 bought-in stores, 1000 ewes plus 250 ewe lamb replacements, of which 160 are pedigree Charollais, and a 25,000

bird poultry enterprise.

AFTER the dismal weather at the end of June, which held up haymaking, all was put right after the Royal Show. We made 25 acres of good hay without rain. It was certainly a very hectic week, as we had ewes to AI, and rams to prepare for sale. At the time of writing, we have sold more rams off the farm than in previous years; possibly this is a reflection of the healthy sheep industry at present.

After judging the Charollais and Lleyns at the Royal Highland and the Royal Show, we attended the Royal Welsh as exhibitors. In the Lleyn section, which was the second largest sheep section, our sheep were not what the judge was looking for and just took one ticket. However, with the Charollais we had a ticket in every class.

On our return home one of the first jobs was to wean all the Lleyn lambs. At this stage we also separate the ewe lambs, vaccinate them with Heptavac P, and record all numbers for registration purposes. This is all quite a task, but theres no reward without effort. In recent years we have sometimes lost four or five lambs in August and September with pasturella. This year all wethers have been also vaccinated with Ovivac P – but no doubt they will find something else to die of.

In the past month all the cattle have been wormed and while the beef market shows slight improvement with recent developments, I believe it is very volatile and am in no great hurry to go and buy store cattle. Im all too conscious of the fact there were a lot of cattle turned to grass this spring that would normally have gone, and there is no guarantee that the current price will be maintained.

The next building phase is under way at Low Foulshaw Farm. A slurry store at this stage is a big hole in the ground – so we are praying for good weather for the next two weeks.n

Ewes have been weaned and AId and ewe lambs vaccinated with Heptavac P against pasteurella.

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John Geldard

14 February 1997

John Geldard

John Geldard farms 175ha (430-acres) near Kendal on the southern edge of the Lake District. Stock

comprises 50 suckler cows, with progeny finished

alongside 300-400 bought-in stores, 100 ewes plus 250 ewe lamb replacements, of which 160 are pedigree Charollais, and a 25,000

bird poultry enterprise.

OUR 430-acre farm is split into two units, the main holding being the 398-acre Low Foulshaw Farm, built on a greenfield site on the edge of the Kent Estuary at Levens, and including 100 acres of marsh. We also rent 10 acres and the buildings at Middle Foulshaw Farm, while another 22 acres is at Low Plumgarths Farm on the northern edge of Kendal.

It is a family run business and employs three other full-time workers and five part time. We also hire extra casual labour for building work, a regular occurrence since we moved to the greenfield site in 1988.

Stocking consists of 50 suckler cows, mostly Limousin cross put to the Charolais bull, with calves finished on the holding. We also buy in store cattle, finishing 300 to 400 a year.

The sheep enterprise consists of 1000 ewes plus 250 ewe lamb replacements, of which 160 are pedigree Charollais. The rest are Llyens and a few Mules, which are being phased out.

The Charollais and about 180 commercial ewes are sired by Charollais rams and lambed in December and January to produce the early lambs for the spring market and rams for sale. The main flock of ewes is lambed in March, most of them bred pure to produce flock replacements. The Llyen ewe lambs are usually lambed in April to the Charollais ram, producing lambs to be sold later in the year.

The poultry enterprise consists of 25,000 free-range laying birds in four units. The eggs from these are marketed into retail outlets such as grocers, butchers, delicatessens, hotels, restaurants, cafes and some to ASDA superstores. The rest are sold to a packer.

January has been a good start to the year as far as the weather goes. On this low-lying farm we relish fine weather, which lets us get muck and slurry out.

The lambs are doing well. The pedigree Charollais look promising, and the cross breeds are off to a good start. We will soon be weaning the first batch of cross breeds and selling old ewes. Let us hope the cull market keeps up.

In mid-January we housed the March lambers carrying triplets and twins. The singles go back on to the marsh until two weeks before lambing. We also scanned the Llyen ewe lambs, which were with the ram from Nov 8 to Nov 30. The results were 39 barren, 91 singles and 61 twins. Too many of the latter, I think.

At Ulverston market on Jan 23 one heifer in our consignment – bought earlier for £358 – grossed £534, but is this a good enough margin? I have my doubts when you deduct every little cost, and with the price slipping this week margins could be slim. The one thing that amazes me is the price of store cattle, which certainly bears no relation to the finished cattle price today.

On the poultry front, egg trade in early January was good. But the past two weeks have been quieter in line with the trend of recent years. The end of January sees consumers with bills for the festive season and the knowledge that the belt has to be tightened. &#42

John Geldard farms at Low Foulshaw Farm, a green field site near Kendal. The family moved there in 1988, and building work is a regular occurence.

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