It’s one of the busiest times of the farming year – the hay making season.
And at Garden Farm at High Leas the sun was shining and the sweet smell of freshly cut hay was in the air when reporter Julia Rodgerson and photographer Marisa Cashill visited to catch up with our adopted lamb.
Back in April we took on Dynamite as part of our campaign to find out about and promote locally produced food.
We have been following Dynamite’s life on a traditional organic farm and – shockingly for some – we will be reporting his eventual slaughter, when he is around seven months’ old.
We hope the feature will encourage readers to think about where their meat comes from.
Tim Sidaway, who took over Garden Farm in January, wants people to respect the meat they eat and considers animal welfare of the utmost importance.
Dynamite is now four months old and has grown in to a fit and healthy lamb – non the worse for his shaky start.
He was bottle fed as his mother had three lambs and was unable to feed them all but is now weened and spends his time in the fields, eating grass with the other lambs and sheep.
The ewes will soon be separated from the lambs before being put to the ram again in early November with more lambs set to be born next April.
The grass at Garden Farm has been cut for haylage. It has been dried, baled then wrapped before being stored.
Traditionally farmers used enclosed fields to provide a stock of hay for winter feed, clearing the stock off in May and allowing the grass to grow before cutting it later in the year, in July or August.
The hay feeds cattle and sheep through the winter and has been an important function of the farming calendar for the last six thousand years.
Tim said: “We have more than enough hay for our animals so we will sell it as a source of income.
“It is quite a big job and very weather dependent.”
Tim gathers around five bales per acre and has 110 acres at Garden Farm which is home to sheep, lambs, cows, goats, pigs, poultry and a heavy horse.
Two hundred turkey chicks have also arrived at the farm this week, ready for Christmas.
Tim added: “There is always stuff to do and new things happening all year round. It’s a continuous cycle. I don’t think people realise how much work there is to do on a farm.”
n Find out more about our lamb Dynamite in future features as we to follow the cycle from farm to fork.