Notes from the Farm - January 2024

Notes from the Farm - January 2024


Farm Managing Director

Cold temperatures, frost and hard ground are to be expected in January. This year we also experienced flooding, so many farming jobs were not possible in the past month. Most of January was spent doing general maintenance and getting ready for the spring months, such as servicing machines, repairing fences, clearing drains, planning crops and ordering seeds. The farming team also had to manage the key tasks explained below.


We were delighted to welcome Albert to our organic dairy herd of traditional British Friesians. Breeding season starts in December/January each year and we usually crossbreed our British Friesian dairy cows with Hereford bulls. Albert is 16 months old and comes from a pedigree line of show-winning Hereford stock. He will spend this year with our heifers, producing Hereford cross beef calves for our beef enterprise, some of which will become mothers themselves. Our heifers have already taken a shine to Albert, and he is settling in nicely in his new home.


We brought all the pregnant ewes at Daylesford and Wootton farms indoors in January, in preparation for lambing in the spring. 

Once they’re in, it takes a team of four people two days to shear the entire flock of 1500. Shearing prepares the ewes for scanning and makes sure they do not overheat in the warm lambing barns.  

An amazingly quick, highly skilled technician scans each ewe individually, and we then use a dab of paint to mark the flock and organise our lambing barns: 

  • Orange – not pregnant
  • Red – single lamb
  • No colour – twins (most of the flock will be expecting twins, so why waste the paint!)
  • Blue – triplets
  • A blue “4”: quadruplets



Foot health is an important part of high welfare farming systems, and we give all the animals in our organic beef herd a thorough pedicure every year. Earlier this month we guided the cows and bulls one by one through a special apparatus which gently holds each foot in turn, so we may inspect the hooves for any lesions, infections or overgrowth, trimming and treating where needed. Because our animals spend much of their time on our organic pastures, which are soft underfoot and do not strain their legs and feet, our herd rarely suffers from lesions or infections. 

The annual pedicure is not done for aesthetic reasons; keeping hooves in check has significant health benefits including helping the animals achieve proper, comfortable posture and preventing painful, harmful injuries, lameness and other serious problems.


Fresh, bright and juicy organic lemons, mandarins, bergamots and blood oranges are a feast for the senses at this time of year. Our resident nutritionist points out that seasonal citrus fruits and other whole foods with sour and bitter flavours are known to help support gut health, digestion and stimulate the liver. Squeeze their juice over salads, add to drinks and soups, use the zest to perk up casseroles and reach for easy-to-peel fruits for healthy snacking.

“For me, January is a period of renewal; a chance to reset after the festive period and find ways to revive and restore both my body and mind. I find that real, unprocessed whole foods are the best way to help me feel energised, from nuts and grains to hearty seasonal vegetables and lean cuts of meat. Soups are a comforting staple every winter and I have found our new 10-hour beef bone broth especially nourishing. It is made using greens from the market garden and organic, collagen-rich bones from the farm’s abattoir. Winter citrus season is in full swing, with crates of beautiful Navel and Moro blood oranges adding warmth and sunshine to our farmshops. This citrus and almond cake recipe from Seed Volume 05 is a brilliant way to incorporate them into a spot of baking this weekend. It is free from gluten, dairy and uses the whole fruit - so not even a scrap of peel goes to waste.”