Dylan Laws

2nd December 2020

Update - December 2020

My day to day role of a Dalehead fieldsperson has changed significantly during Covid with farm visits being kept to a minimum. The early “joy” of being able to catchup with paperwork soon wore off and all meetings have moved to the world of video conferencing. It has been busy though, as the sole supplier of lamb into Waitrose, the lockdowns have increased orders significantly. Let’s hope that that the trend for homecooked lamb will stick beyond the virus.

I’m looking towards 2021 with a little caution. Brexit is here and there’s no getting away from the potential impact it will have on export. Although perhaps many know something I don’t with the crazy breeder and store trade currently. I would like to think that whatever pain it may cause will be short lived. The French public will still demand lamb and if given access to other markets we have a high-end product offer. At home were hoping for a better lamb rearing rate next year having taken the expensive step to vaccinate both flocks.

Update - April 2021

Lambing is finally dying down after a busy March and I’m thankful the weather has been kind for outdoor lambing. Lambs are enjoying the sunshine and we’re looking forward to seeing how lambs from our new Charollais stock tup will work out.

We trialled using a 3 in 1 feeder for the indoor lambers this year with the aim of cutting down on labour with mixed results. I might well have spent the time saved unblocking the hopper. Need to look at options for improving flow for next year.

Grass growth has been slow and led to buying in some fodder beet in February. Growth has started to pick up the last couple of weeks. 

The high lamb prices were too good to resist and led to us cashing in empty hoggs in February although we may have gone a little early as the trade continues to climb. Whilst it’s good to see a strong trade I hope the high prices don’t lead to an eventual drop in sales and subsequent trade as we head to the main season.

With lockdown set to ease Glamping bookings are coming on strong with some much needed income forecast for the summer. I feel that with the reduction in subsidy we will have to up our game as competition in farm tourism is bound to increase.