Matson Ground Farm Calendar Winter 2024
07 February 2024

I know it's the Lake District but we've been in a particularly wet spell recently with more frequent storm events, so our Matson Ground staff are being kept busy with continuing storm damage clearance and wood extraction from our woodlands. 

The land is very wet and a surprise snowfall in early December caught everyone off guard in the South Lakes. With around 10 inches of snow in one day, everything was brought to a standstill. We quickly had to get hay out to the sheep and cows to see them through the snowy spell. Luckily it didn't last long, and all had melted within a few days as temperatures warmed up again. 

Sorry - typical farmer starting with the weather!

The last of the suckler herd has been sold to another farm locally and our new system, where the cattle are outside all year round, has begun in earnest. We now have around 30 Blue Grey cattle and 40 Belted Galloways grazing the farmland. Blue Greys are a crossbreed of two other native breeds - a Black Galloway cow and a White Shorthorn bull. They are typically hardy and slow-growing, producing high-quality beef. 

One of the biggest changes the new system brings is that there won't be a calving season as we're now not breeding from the cows and we have formed partnerships with two other organic farms: one in the Yorkshire Dales National Park supplying the young Belties and the other in Northumberland National Park, supplying the young Blue Greys. 

The sheep have been in with the tups and should hopefully all be in lamb. We now keep them well fed and in good health in the build-up to lambing time. In mid-February the sheep will be pregnancy scanned and then sorted into groups based on how many lambs they're going to have and the condition they're in. The twins and triplets (hopefully not too many triplets due!) will be topped up with organic sheep feed, made from cereals, each day for six weeks, right up until lambing. 

We're very excited to announce we've successfully been accepted onto a new wood pasture agri-environment scheme. The scheme runs for ten years, during the course of which we will be planting trees and managing the land in a particular way, including grazing livestock in the agreed way, in return for a government payment. 4,000 trees will be planted over the course of the scheme, which is a huge project and an exciting moment in Matson Ground's journey. 

More to come on this and I'll be back in the Spring to update you on our busiest season. 


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