This spectacular ‘after’ shot was taken by Sam Mcpherson, aka Macca, Warehouse Assistant at Cotswold Seeds as well as enthusiastic sheep farmer.
Sam rents seventeen acres at Sezincote Farm in Gloucestershire, where his father is cattle stockman. Sam’s flock of sheep comprise twenty-four pedigree Sands Texels which are breeding stock and twenty Suffolk Cross Mules which are used as recipients, in which eggs from the Texels are implanted.
Two acres of the land Sam rents was historically used as a walled kitchen garden for the estate and latterly has been used for keeping pet goats, having been left for five years completely ungrazed. This old non-productive permanent pasture was in a pretty sorry state so earlier this year Sam asked his boss, Cotswold Seeds MD Ian Wilkinson, for advice.
Ian advised sowing a crop of stubble turnips to break the cycles of pests and diseases within the old grass before sowing a new ley. So Sam prepared the seedbed by rotavating before spinning the turnips on the surface and rolling in. This was in May and six weeks later the field was transformed with a lush leafy crop of turnips. The sheep were put on to strip graze to ensure they didn’t just eat the leaves of the plants.
The ground was then rotavated again and Cotswold Seeds Permanent Grass (MIX6) was spun on. This hardy, versatile mixture contains persistent varieties ensuring good yields for cutting and grazing over many years. It includes Timothy which is extremely resistant to cold temperatures and provides good late-season growth while the thick bottomed sward structure is obtained by using late perennial ryegrasses and highly nutritious white clover. Within a couple of months an almost perfect establishment took place, the transformation was complete, and the field had become a verdant, healthy pasture, perfect for grazing sheep. Keep your eyes open this year for Sam and his Texels as he plans to take them to numerous shows. Follow his progress on Facebook (Sands Texels) and Twitter @Sandstexels.
Date Posted: 16th December 2015