Foot Flats Farm - Amherst Island, Ontario, Canada Foot Flats Farm Seasonal Newsletter

ARCHIVED NEWSLETTER - 21st March 2005

Vernal Equinox

The spring equinox always seems to give us a lift – the days are lengthening and even if March comes in like a Lion… surely it will go out like a Lamb?

It has been a relatively mild winter and overall we are pleased with the condition of the ewes. Last week we shore our 800 mature ewes and housed them where we can manage them best through the “mud season” as the frost comes out of the ground. Shearing was a busy and social three days, and we had a lot of fun in what is now one of the few group activities of the farming year.

Our 300 hoggets (ewe lambs born in May’04) have just been scanned and all but 8% of them got in lamb on the first two breeding cycles in December. These “open” hoggets will be sold as heavy lambs and the replacements will be shorn in April.

We are feeling more optimistic now than at any time since the border closure. Lambs sold well at Christmas and New Year and our market in Toronto has consumed a lot more lamb over the last two years. Admittedly we have noticed that the market has become two-tiered, the premium between the top prices and the average appears to us to be wider than before. We have never spent more time weighing and sorting before shipping but the greater attention to detail is being rewarded.

The next six weeks will be very busy with all the preparations for lambing, and fence building and repairs to start as soon as the frost leaves the ground. Our reward should be the relative calm when the ewes go back to grass in early May.