Farmer Focus: Glad to have drier heathland for ewes

We were thrilled to win the Farm-to-Fork category at the Lincolnshire Food and Farming awards, against some other great businesses.

We’ve also just had our last pop-up shop of 2023, which was a resounding success.

We were incredibly lucky with the weather – although it was very cold and misty, we didn’t get any rain or snow, which would have been a disaster.

It still amazes us that so many people come to the farm, which is in a village that hardly anyone had heard of until now. It just shows that there are still a lot of people who want to buy good-quality meat.

See also: Lamb trade fears Australian imports could topple firm market

About the author

Louise Elkington
Louise Elkington runs 500 breeding ewes in Lincolnshire with husband Chris for their Gelston lamb brand, supplying restaurants, 13 Co-op stores and their online shop. They have 54ha of grass on a farm business tenancy and agreements for stubble turnips and hay aftermaths.
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It’s just sad that so many butchers are closing, but great to see that more farms are starting to try selling direct.

I think selling whole- and half-lamb boxes is the easiest way to start, and once you build your customer base, you can then add different packs. Start small, but aim high.

With Christmas just round the corner, we are flat out in the butchery, so it’s tricky trying to keep on top of everything.

Ewe lambs are still on old permanent pasture, which is starting to get wet, but they seem to be coping well with the conditions.

Ewes are now all on stubble turnips and are moved every five to seven days.

We are very fortunate to be able to work with some local arable farms that have heathland, making electric fencing a lot easier with a truck and trailer.

There’s been so much rain. You certainly wouldn’t be able to get round our farm in a truck without getting stuck.

We have put in more turnips than ever before, so hopefully we won’t need to buy in extra fodder beet or feed haylage.

Indoor ewes are due to be scanned between Christmas and New Year, which is always an exciting yet nerve-racking day.

This year, we are lambing 250 inside and then the rest outside in April. This is the most we have lambed indoors.

Each year, we find we need more lambs earlier in the season to fulfil orders and for burgers for events. We plan to house them in late January, but as we all know, plans quite often need to change.