Farming and Fashion

08 April 2019

This month we welcome Nathan Reilly to Balcaskie Farms as he starts his new role as Head Stockman. Having spent much of his career in Scotland running similar enterprises to those at Balcaskie, Nathan took the chance to travel to NZ and learn how pasture is managed and farming coped with changes in the subsidy regime.
As Balcaskie begins a new transition to pasture based livestock rearing, reducing reliance on cereals in their diet, grassland management will be key to maintaining high quality beef and lamb produced. With the assistance of organisations like the Soil Association and Pasture Fed Livestock Association, we will be tapping into a well-established knowledge transfer facility and look forward to making progress with our key aims of soil health improvement.
Lambing and Calving have been underway for the past month and the contrast between 2018 and 2019 could not be more pronounced. Last year’s legacy of wet winter, Beast from the East and a dry summer caused problems all year. This year we have enjoyed almost continual grass growth, dry winter and have managed to keep some cattle and all sheep outside.
Our early lambing flock is almost finished and with strong lambs out on fresh grass, they are growing quickly as ewes have plenty of milk. We will be turning out cows and calves in the next few days, over a month earlier than last year. This year we added to the team with seasonal help over lambing and calving. Lachlan and Lucy who are from farming backgrounds in New Zealand are traveling through Europe and we have benefitted hugely from their experience and enthusiasm. Only after a week of working here did Lachlan admit that he was a soil scientist and has fascinated us with his knowledge of the intricacies between soil and plants since.
Bowhouse is preparing itself for another event before the April Food Market, with St Andrews University “Don’t Walk” Fashion Show. The university last held the show at Bowhouse in 2014 when it was still a farm building, but return to an improved venue! We are delighted to be able to help this charity organisation which has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for good causes. We look forward to watching this amazing event managed by the students unfold.

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