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Diary of a Sheep Farmer & Son - Tom & Jack Wheeler - Part Three

on March 12, 2019

Sheep & Turnips
Tom’s ewes survived the late January snow and were brought in to lamb. After a period of lambing Tom is waiting for just a few ewe ‘stragglers’ to lamb; Jack said he counted 13 mid-February.

Tom, with all his family on hand, brought the first 210 sheep (hoggets) to feast on our stubble turnips. These are known as store lambs bought in to fatten up. They are happily munching their way through the tops. Very soon they will be feasting on the actual turnips. Apparently Millie loves nibbling turnips! Look out for the next flock to arrive as there are many acres of turnips to top! Once the sheep (hoggets) have feasted and fertilised, Shaun, our Farm Manager, will put those fields down to maize. While the sheep are grazing the stubble turnips, this gives the grass time to recover and also be ready for the next lambing, due to start on 1 March.

There are about 350 ewes expected to lamb from 1 March. Tom says there are approximately 500 lambs to come from these ewes. Jack told me there are a lot more singles than twins this time, so not such a good return for them. The lack of grass at time of ‘tupping’ is likely to have contributed to this.

The pigs are fattening and 2 have been sent away and so Charlotte will have sausages available to buy. These will be sold in packs of 10 and available from Charlotte and Tom direct. How wonderful to be able to buy and support a local farmer! Order them by email from tomwheeler34@gmail.com

The cows are still in the barn but will be out soon enjoying the lovely dry weather and rich grass.

Tractor Ted - www.tractorted.co.uk
Tom is still busy with being the face of ‘Tractor Ted’, look out for the Open Days.

Band in a Barn - www.facebook.com/bandinabarnnsp
Tom & Charlotte are part of a dedicated and excellent team who started Band in a Barn about 5 years ago and who have raised a substantial amount of money for local Charities/Groups. They operate the Small Grant Scheme. The next event is Saturday 22 June 2019. Look out for tickets going on sale and enjoy a lovely evening out in a field, with great music and company.

Lackham Student

Last year Tom took on a student from Lackham College; Elliott. The course is just shy of 2 years and Tom has been mentoring Elliott. He spends 4 days out and about on the farm with Tom and 1 day at college. Elliott (just 18) is an excellent student and has shown maturity beyond his years having been a huge help; they have loved having him around. Jack and Millie think he’s great. Elliott may well head off to New Zealand to work on one of the huge sheep farms there to extend his experience. This will give him a greater range of expertise. Tom will continue mentoring a new student from Lackham … he is so happy to share his experience and give something back.

So keep an eye out for Tom, Charlotte, Jack and Millie with a trailer full of sheep, around and about our fields bringing in more hoggets to continue feasting on the turnips. It’s great to know that we at Fussell Farms can work together with Tom; both of us benefitting from this partnership

Next time: Spring Lambs and much more...

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Lizzy Etheridge with Tom Wheeler