FARMER FOCUS: Lambing should start in early February

The tups are in so we should start lambing early February. Great to hear that Lambing Live will be back on our screens in March 2014. Good luck to the new family; we’re looking forward to watching it (in between lambing). It can only be a positive thing to share our passion for farming with the general public. We thoroughly enjoyed watching Harvest 2013 this month.

We’re taking part in a new event, Cardiff Country Fair, at the end of September, bringing the countryside to the city centre and celebrating the best of farming and food from across the UK. Another fantastic opportunity to engage with consumers.

Courses are going well and we’re delighted that Kate’s Country School has been shortlisted in two categories of the Monmouthshire Business Awards – most promising start-up business and farm diversification award. It will be a good excuse to dress up for the awards ceremony in October.

There are 37 new piglets on the farm; 13 of these are being hand reared due to the loss of one of our Gloucester Old Spot sows. The orphans are rearing well, so much so we have decided that piglets are much easier to rear than lambs or calves.

Harvest is almost complete, with spring oats combined and barley almost done. We also managed a second cut of silage – what a difference a year makes. We still have 5ha of maize yet to chop. Our local ploughing match was well supported this month with more than 60 vintage tractors taking part and some championship horses.

On a final note, I would like to wish our nephew, Dan, good luck as he sets off on a six-month work placement in Australia; split between a beef and sheep station on the east coast and then honing his shearing skills with the world-renowned Boyle family in Perth. Education is important, but sometimes you can’t beat travelling and hands-on practical experience. Good luck shearing those Merinos, Dan.

Kate Beavan farms 200ha alongside her husband Jim on one of two family farms near Abergavenny, Monmouthshire. The main enterprises comprise 900 breeding ewes and 50 suckler cows. Meat is sold direct to the family’s traditional butchers shop. Kate and Jim hosted the first series of Lambing Live in 2010

More on this topic

Read more articles from Kate Beavan

Read more from our other livestock farmer focus writers