Spring is springing ! The daffodills along the road are nearly out, only a few days later than last year and the grass has started to grow. Winter could still have a sting in its tail but once February is out the way at least it won't last for long. February always feels like a long month; short, cold days filled with routine tasks. All the sheep and cattle are indoors needing feed and bedding brought to them while they mainly sleep through their gestation. Hopefully they are all either in lamb or in calf; the chap who does the scanning is due on Saturday.
Pregnant ? Last year's calves.
Having sold one telescopic loader, the Matbro, we now have a big and little Manitou. The 'new to us' bigger one can cope more easily with the bale spreader but does require some precision driving.
What you don't want is anything going wrong with the snake's nest of hydraulic pipes, fortunately it was still under waranty.
On dry days another 1000, mainly hawthorn hedge plants, have gone in patching up gaps. We have had to put in an extra fence here in readiness for cattle being outside on the North side of the farm and to keep the stock off the young hedge plants in the Spring.
The self propelled dirty water irrigation system has been busy in the wet weather. There are muddy patches behind it, not because of the extra water it delivers onto the field but due to Mr and Mrs Seagull and all their relations investigating the ground and paddling about making a mess. Sometimes it seems you solve one problem just to create another.
One win, win situation however seems to be using one of Phil's inventions to keep the waste silage wrap under control. ( It will be a test of how conscientious he is with the editorial to see if he spots some, apparently rare praise coming his way).
Phil has made the bottomless box on the right out of old pallets and draped baler twine from one side, along the bottom and up the opposite side - on all 4 sides. The pallet is then ready to receive the discarded wrap. As it reached capacity, a home made concrete weight is lowered in using a loader and left for a couple of days. Once removed there is more space to fill with silage wrap and then compress again. When it is compacted as much as possible, the twine is tied up to make a parcel and the pallet box lifted off with a loader. Ta daa ...... neat brickettes of silage wrap ready to efficiently fill a skip.
The finished pigs despite now having allegedly leaner genetics from a different breeding company, are still coming through with too much fat on them. Analysis of the ration showed the protein / energy balance of the rations was out with not enough protein present.
The culprit was hunted down to being this weigh head which tips when it has enough soya in it - and the number of tips it makes are counted to complete a tonne mix. The problem identified is that the weigh head is tipping up with less soya in than it used to. Hopefully once we have got this right the younger pigs will grow faster and so not put on fat which allows them to eat a lower quality ration as they near slaughter weight maintaining growth but not laying down fat. Pig aerobics was not seen as a viable solution.