This month at Lackham Farm

October

Calf rearing - until January:

Calf rearing

Once the calves are born they remain with their mothers for a few days. This is important, as they need to drink the colostrum produced by the mother. Once they are ready, they are moved to a special calf house where they are fed powdered milk mix and concentrates. The sheds need to have good ventilation to keep the animals healthy, but they need to be protected from draughts. They also need to be checked regularly for weight to make sure that they are growing normally. The mothers go back into the dairy herd, because after they have produced a calf, they are then producing the maximum daily yield of milk during their yearly cycle.


March lambing flock being prepared:

March lambing flock

The college has some sheep, which will lamb in January, and others that will lamb in March. Ewes take around five months to produce lambs and so, at this time of year, the rams are allowed into the flock. This is known as tupping. In preparation for this all the sheep have their feet checked and trimmed if necessary. The college has around 400 ewes – the breeds are Lleyn, Mules and cross bred , Mule X Poll Dorset. A number of different breeds of ram are used – Texel, Poll Dorset, Hampshire Down, Isle de France, Berrichon and Suffolk.


Sowing cereals:

sowing cereals

The farm grows a range of different crops – winter wheat, winter barley, peas, winter oilseed rape, winter oats winter beans spring barley and lupins, The winter crops are planted in October and the others in March or April. Different crops are suited to different soil types and the wettest land is planted first. Once a seedbed has been made, a drill is used to plant the seed which is then left to grow, before being sprayed with a herbicide to control early weeds. The college also hosts some cereal trials for Countrywide and the students also grow their own plots where they monitor growth and different varieties.

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