The worst winter we’ve had since 2010, life on the farm was challenged to its maximum during the unwelcome visit from the ‘Beast from the East’.
We were incredibly lucky that our team threw their everything in to keeping the farm running and the animals checked, rescued, fed and watered several times a day. In 2010 we had to resort to checking the cattle on the hills on horseback as our machinery couldn’t get through the snow. This year we couldn’t even get the horses up the hills so everything had to be done on foot once we’d exhausted the capabilities of the farm vehicles.
Our water troughs were frozen solid, as were the supply pipes and this meant that we had to load up 1000 litres of water in 20 litre containers twice a day on to the back of the farm vehicles and drive them up as far as we could get them before getting out and dragging them by hand to the water troughs where we would have to dig away the snow, break the ice and re-fill with fresh water. We then had to dig pathways to the troughs so the animals could get to them. 20 litres weighs 20kg, so let’s just say we all needed our sleep every night!
Usually when there is snow fall, grazing animals will happily dig down through the snow to find the grass underneath, however there was so much snow this time that they couldn’t dig deep enough. This meant that we had to drive up the large round hay bales as far as we could get them before hand-rolling the bales up the hill to reach the cattle and sheep!
The next problem was not just the sheer amount of snow fall, but the wind creating the snow drifts, and these were considerably more dangerous. Our sheep were taking shelter against the gorse bushes and stone dykes, however within a very short amount of time the wind would cover them with snow. Sadly we lost 1 ewe to the snow drifts, despite hours and hours of searching for her, however we were extremely lucky not to have lost more as many farmers did all around the country.