This month at Lackham Farm

May

1st cut silage making:

silage making

The students cut the grass for silage in May. The grass is cut using tractors and mowers; it is wilted for 24 hours before being picked up by the forage harvester, and put into the silage clamp. This is the food that will be eaten by the cattle during the coming winter. It is important that it is made well so that the dairy cows will produce a good yield of high quality milk. Hopefully the weather will be warm and dry during this process. Once it is clamped, the silage clamp is sheeted over, so that all the air is excluded. The grass will then ferment and the silage will be ready for feeding from November onwards.


Prepare maize seed bed and drill:

maize seed bed & drill

Maize should be drilled when soil temperature are around 8oC. The soil is prepared using harrows so that there is no compaction. Maize generally grows best on lighter soils so the field most suited are selected. Once the ground is prepared to a fine seedbed the maize is planted using a specialist precision drill. Once this is complete the ground is sprayed with a pre-emergence weed control chemical to prevent competition. It is important to keep weeds out of the crop as they can cause contamination when it is eventually harvested and put into the silage clamp.


Sales of January born lambs:

sale of jan born lambs

In May, the January born lambs will be sold. They will weighed regularly as they grow. The biggest ones are sold first and the other follow once they have achieved the target weight for slaughter, which is around 40kg depending on breed.


Shearing:

shearing

Shearing involves cutting of the fleece from the ewes. The sheep are brought into a shed the night before shearing begins so that they will be dry. It is important that the weather is reasonably warm because there could be a risk of pneumonia if the fleece is removed when it is cold. The students take part in the shearing when individually the sheep are shorn using special clippers.. The clean fleeces are then bundled up to be sold. The wool is used in the manufacture of clothing and other textiles.

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