Jack Charleton

2nd December 2020

Update - December 2020

As winter approaches I cannot believe where the year has gone. The tups are now out with the park flock and we are getting the last of the lambs onto the roots. Since becoming a Next Generation Ambassador in February, I have been promoted from Trainee Farm Manager to Assistant Farm Manager after two years training. This has been very enjoyable and challenging through the uncertain times ahead. Covid has meant a quiet summer at Chatsworth, with the park events cancelled we have been able to rest the ground and have not had the pressure to move livestock away for events. It has made jobs contracted out, such as shearing, more challenging. But has not affected the farm work massively due to the easiness of socially distancing during most farm tasks outside.

My ambitions through 2021 are to continue progressing at Chatsworth and take on more of the managerial tasks. And of course, I’m looking forward to NSA events and the Next Generation programme starting again, it will be great to see everyone and discuss innovative farming practices.

Update - April 2021

As we are just about to spring into lambing the main flock, there are a few last minute preparation jobs to do. We lambed 300 ewes in February, this is to maintain a year round supply to the farm shop. This year the early lambing flock has been grazing forage rape, which has improved lamb growth rates. Now as the lambs approach 7 – 8 weeks of age they are going to be FEC and wormed accordingly.

We are getting through the thick of the calving now and turning the cows out to make room for the ewes to move in straight away. We are hopeful for a successful lambing this year and are very happy to welcome the vet and work experience students back after a very difficult lambing last year. This years scanning percentage is also higher than last year at an average of 192% over the park and upland flocks.

Spring is definitely here now and having livestock outside after a cold wet winter is great to see, although the -2 degrees this morning was a reminder spring has not fully sprung just quite yet. But every day is one day closer and before we know it, it will be time to turn the tups out again!

Update - June 2021

Lambing finally finished on what seemed to be another kind April. The little few showers and cold mornings have not had a huge impact on turning out or caused many issues with the outside lambing flock. So we have certainly got that to be thankful for and are now praying for the grass to keep growing now the silage fields are clear, so we can move onto those jobs.

Our next jobs involve taking a draw of lambs out of the February lambing flock. We rotational grazed this flock on forage rape and grass, however the frosts in April meant we ran short of grass, so moved this flock to lower ground which grows better grass. The lambs are now motoring and we are hoping for a draw to keep up with supply to the farm shop. After this, we will start to look at worm testing our early April born lambs, and begin drenching, vaccinating and fly spraying.

As lockdown restrictions ease I am looking forward to being able to do more with the NSA ambassadors and meet up and see other sheep farms. I’ve recently taken on the Vice Chairman role for NSA Central Region too, so I am keen to get stuck into more face to face meetings going forward.