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A Week on the Estate: Forage Drilling, Garden Building & Solar Pumping

We know that spring is here and summer is on its way when the Keal Yard team gets ready to turn the Lincoln Reds out for the grazing season. Typically, the herd grazes the estate freely from March or April to mid-November, with some adjustment for cold or wet weather. This year, we’re hoping to see the herd turn-out by the end of April, if the conditions are ideal.


After over-wintering in the warmth and safety of Keal Yard, the Lincoln Red herd will soon have at least seven months to graze the lush grass of our parkland. The new calves will get their first glimpse of the wide, green world beyond the sheds where they were born a few short months ago.

In the fields, Paul Barnes made good use of his new drone to capture some fine aerial images of the ongoing drilling. We’re currently drilling a whole-crop forage mix of peas and barley that will feed the Lincoln Red herd next winter. To follow this up, we’ll be harrowing in a grass and clover mix before the field gets rolled again. We’re crossing our fingers for a useful drop of rain to give the growing season a good start.


The Walled Garden has seen a lot of activity this week as we prepare for a busy summer and – we hope – a fine crop of home-grown produce at the end of it. The tiles on top of the wall have been repaired, the fruit trees are blossoming and the rows of strawberry plants are thriving. We still have plenty of work to do as the gardener’s store needs more than a little TLC. Besides replacing the roof tiles, we’ll need to fix the cracked wall by underpinning, repair the floor, install a new wooden window and door, put up racks for tools, and reinstate a small log-burner.

Despite the dry spell we’re enjoying, we’re thinking ahead to the wetter weather that’s sure to come. DMJ Drainage have delivered 700t of stone and some serious machinery to the estate, ready to install a new land-drainage system in two fields that are prone to waterlogging. In the meantime, the first line of a new main-drain has been installed and water is already flowing. The cross-sections will follow soon, connecting with this drain.


We’ve also turned our attention to building resilience into our supply of water. A key part of this is a newly installed solar-powered water pump. This will allow us to feed additional water troughs from a natural spring and make us less reliant on mains water.

To see how far South Ormsby Estate has come in a few brief years, we took a look at what was in the estate’s news during this week in 2018. Housekeeper Jacqui Rhodes was accredited with both a Food Hygiene Certificate and a Hospitality Certificate, while Heritage Manager Caron Ementon completed a Personal Assistant / Executive Assistant course. Outdoors, Estate Photographer Damian Furlong together with videographer Adam from Luke Lewis Productions took advantage of the crane being used to repair the Hall’s roof and chimney to bag some beautiful vistas across the estate from 25m up.


Clearly, improving the gardens is a perennial task. A peculiar package arrived which prompted some head-scratching. An old cherry tree had died and Hall Steward Craig managed to track down an example of the same historic variety to replace it. The sapling was unpacked and planted where the old tree had stood, and we’re pleased to say it’s thriving.