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A Week on the Estate: Welcome Rain, Wild Birds & Liberated Reds

We’ve enjoyed a life-affirming week on the estate. Some much needed spring rain gave our crops a good start, while the Lincoln Red herd exchanged their winter quarters for our open parklands with much excitement.

 

The herd’s exodus from Keal Yard began on Monday, with a family unit of cows and calves headed by Sooty the bull leading the charge, followed later by yearlings and steers. Having found a spot that pleased him, Sooty took the time to bellow at the top of his voice, staking his claim to this corner of the Lincolnshire Wolds.

For the calves, this was a novel and visibly thrilling experience. It was the first time in their lives that they’d had the run of open, grass pasture, and they didn’t hesitate to make the most of it. Our Lincoln Red herd will graze our parklands freely for what we hope will be a long and clement grazing season. They’ll eventually return to their winter quarters from October or November, depending on the temperature.

 

This week’s wet weather was gratefully received. Paul Barnes even had to bring his faithful wellies out of retirement to walk the crops. The rainfall, together with a dash of fertiliser, will help everything push on.

The winter barley drilled in October is looking rather well considering what it’s been through. The winter wheat drilled into the cover crop trial in January is slowly picking up after we rolled it last week. The pea and barley mix is coming along nicely along with the grass and clover. We’re looking well set for a good growing season.

 

On a smaller scale, the estate looks set to give us all sorts of wonderful produce this year. Rhubarb and blackcurrants are thriving at Harden’s Gap, while a fruitful apple harvest looks likely at The Old Rectory. Inspired by the blooming cherry trees at St Leonard’s Church, Tristan Jørgensen is thinking about infusing a future gin blend with the delicate freshness of cherry blossom. The Massingberd Mundy Distillery might just have something special for gin lovers next spring.

Work in the Walled Garden is moving along nicely. The crack in the gardener’s store is slowly disappearing and the old west gate is about to be replaced so that it matches the south gate. Nearby, the Hall has enjoyed some beautiful feathered visitors. Handsome greylag geese continue to thrive on the lake, while a red kite was pictured surveying the estate from a lofty perch. A grey heron has also been glimpsed stalking fish from the reeds.

 

As we continue to balance sustainable agriculture with improving biodiversity, we look forward to seeing the Lincoln Red herd thrive while welcoming an ever-wider range of wildlife.