The week began with storm Dennis, just to top up with another 40.5 mm of rainfall. The rest of the week was not great, but in comparison cloudy, windy and damp days were a relief, only adding another 8 mm. It did however feel quite chilly if you were out in the open. Kevin is hoping the weather will soon improve as the main flock is due to begin lambing at the end of February. Unlike the early and elite lambing flocks the main flock ewes and their offspring will be turned out onto pasture as soon as lambs and mothers have formed a close bond, so we do need some warmer, drier, sunnier weather.

Meanwhile Kevin and his team have been kept very busy with the routine jobs, feeding, mucking out and bedding up cattle and sheep. There are always additional jobs, one of which was for a vet to do a routine blood test on a random selection of rams and ewes for the maedi-visna virus, which causes encephalitis and pneumonitis in sheep. Kevin's flock is already in the MVV Accreditation Scheme and regular routine testing ensures that his flock remains free of the disease. The percentage required for the biennial test meant that 20 rams and 130 ewes were blood tested.

At the beginning of the week another batch of finished heavy and light weight lambs were picked up by a lorry, then taken direct to the abbatoir which had bought them. Also another 170 were graded as ready, so will be collected as soon as Kevin's agent has found a buyer and arranged transport. This means that there are only 70 wethers (castrated ram lambs) from last spring left to sell.

Another job done was to run the ewes through a race in order to restrain any that were obviously lame. As each sheep needing treatment was identified it was held by Kevin so that he was able to examine the foot giving a problem. He would then clean and trim the hoof, so he could see exactly where the problem was. Having done this he would apply an anti-bacterial spray to the site of infection and if necessary treat the ewe with an antibiotic injection, marking her with a coloured spot so she could be easily identified as one under treatment. Her identification number would then be recorded, with the treatment given as a requirement and for future reference.

The ewes are also being walked through a footbath once a week. This disinfects the hooves,which will help keep the various forms of foot rot at bay. However, if sheep are already lame it is better to deal with the hooves as I described earlier because disinfectant, on hooves that are already sore, could make them worse.

During the week, Natasha and Annabel, my twin grand -daughters took part in a Pony Club arena eventing competition , organised by the Avon Vale branch. It took place indoors ( not surprising with the recent weather ) with an arena set up with show jumps for the first half of the course and rustic cross- country fences for the second. The cross country section has an optimum time. There are several heights of course from a maximum of 60cm in the first class to 1 metre in the last class. The twins are members of the Beaufort PC which entered 12 teams made up of three or four members. The teams all did very well , with team and individual places. Annabel's team came first in their 90cm section.

On February 15 the Wiltshire Farmers Ball committee decided that after an absence of three years, the ball would be held once again. It was in memory of my late husband Richard, who chaired the committee for many years.

It was held on February the 15th and raised £2,500 to be split between the Wiltshire Air Ambulance and The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution. It was a great evening, taking place in the large hall at Dauntsey's School. Thank you to the committee.