IT was another reasonable week of weather. A stormy start was replaced by a mixture of clouds and sunshine, with temperatures mostly in double figures.

The weekend was spent on Chuggaton Farm in North Devon with our daughter Adele and her family and it was great not having to fight with holiday traffic on the way there. It was lovely to observe the beautiful Devonshire countryside on horseback, which I was invited to do on both days of our visit. It was strange not to have our grandson Dominic at home, but he has recently begun studying for a degree in agriculture at Newcastle University, where he tells us that he is being kept very busy.

It does seem at the moment that all the younger members of the family have or intend to pursue a career in agriculture, which just goes to show that it's 'in the blood'. These days the agriculture industry offers many opportunities for young people, helped by the advances in science and technology.

Over the summer Adele and Steve have upped the welfare of their dairy herd by installing new cubicles in their original cubicle barn. The barn had wooden cubicles, which had been installed several decades ago, although parts of the farm have been modernised since they took over management of the family business about 20 years ago. Before the cubicles were installed, the inside of the barn was cleared to leave a shell, the passages were widened and the new cubicles fitted. The building is now much lighter, roomier, easier to navigate and the cubicles have rubber mats, laid over memory foam mattresses, so very much more comfortable for the cows.

Here on Manor Farm we have decided to sell our dairy herd, but Adele and Steve have been investing for the future. We have now started the process of advertising our cows for sale, not an ideal time, but TB movement restrictions earlier in the year have caused the problem. The cows are booked into market for sale mid-December, but we hope that we will find a buyer/buyers before then, so the cows can move straight to another farm/s without having to go to market first.

We cannot delay the sale until after Christmas as although we are now TB clear, the cows would have to have a pre-movement test 60 days from our last test and this may put us on restriction once again. As I said before, the timing of the sale is not good, as many farmers have less conserved forage for this winter and it is close to Christmas. We do hope the cows manage to find a good home/s and that we can then carry on farming by putting new enterprises into action.

Sheep now seem to be covering a large part of Manor Farm. Some wethers and young rams occupying barn space are being fed on haylage and a concentrate pellet, whilst others are out in the fields on grass or forage rape.

We also have one group of 80 ewes with a ram, now also being fed some haylage.

Kevin's father Francis spends a great deal of his time checking all the groups of ewes, with rams, in Corsham Park. Richard seems to be the main person checking all the grazing sheep here on Manor Farm, with some help from Kevin, Melissa, Natasha and sometimes me.

Other jobs done during the week were erecting more sheep fencing in fields to be grazed and moving branches that have fallen across some of the existing electric fences, which causes them not to work so efficiently or can break the wires.

Kevin also checked through his wethers for any that were ready for market, selecting a group of 15. The next check should reveal a much larger group of finished lambs. Finally Kevin, Francis, Ian, Harry and Richard dismantled a movable, coverall barn near Kevin and Melissa's old home, moving it to Manor Farm.