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