Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Concordia Bay and whales

Pressed bale ready to have the pins put through and the top secured

Hand pressing the wool from the top box down into the bottom box.

Jumping the box to get a decent bale weight.
Early start again today .  Got up at 5:00am ready to go to Barren.  I didn't go in the end as Christopher said he could manage without me.  Filled in the majority of  the livestock form just leaving start of loading and amount loaded for Christopher to fill in.  He is quite capable of filling the form in but is very careless.  In fact he should have been a doctor as his hand writing is atrocious.  Hope it is all filled in correctly because the EU inspectors are down inspecting the abattoir.  Send 310 lambs in the end.  Christopher left here at 5:30 am and Concordia Bay anchored of Barren at 6:30.  The lambs were then loaded into a sea truck and ferried out to the ship.  Loading started at 6:45 and all 310 were loaded by 9:15am and the ship was on its way  back to New Haven by 10:00am where the lambs would be off loaded onto a truck for their final part of the journey to the abattoir.  The abattoir is a new tool in agriculture in the Falklands.  It opened approximately 6 years ago and gave farmers another income stream.  It has taken time to become established and is still heavily subsidized by our government.  Each year more farms supply but it has taken time.  We have changed our whole farm structure from a balanced flock to a ewe flock to supply lamb.  It has made a massive difference to us financially.  We chose to move to dual purpose sheep  so as not to swap one income for another.  Historically pure lamb breeds are very coarse and to move in that direction would have massively reduced our income from wool.  Our chosen breeds are, on Speedwell Island the South African mutton Merino, this animal throws 60% to meat and 40% to wool.  This animal is proving to be well suited and although shorter wooled and a little coarser compensates for this by having a very large body and so  carries a larger fleece if slightly shorter in fibre.  On George island we have chosen the Dohne.  This is also a South African animal but throws 40% meat and 60% wool.  Initially we had our doubts about the suitability of these animals because they tended to come in quite lean but we have now been putting Dohne in here for approximately 5 years and they seem to be adapting to our conditions very well.  Our micron on George has decreased significantly and with record breaking wool prices would seem to be a good choice.  Lastly on Barren we put Pol Dorset rams across the ewes. No lambs at all are kept from these, the whole lot go to the abattoir because the Pol Dorset is very coarse.  The flock is topped up on  Barren each year with replacement ewes from George to make sure that wool quality is not lost.  The new genetics have been introduced through AI and ET programmes.
Chris got back from Barren at 11:15, he brought the 7 Poll Dorset rams over.  These rams will now stay in the ram paddock here until it is time for them to go out to the flock again in May.
The afternoon was spent in the garden as it was a beautiful day again with temperatures of 20-22 degrees.
The whales can still be seen from the kitchen window and it is now 6pm.  I guess there is a good supply of krill in Eagle passage today.
Finally, I read today that 71% of the Falklands population is on face book which apparently makes us the biggest facebookers in the world by population.  Crazy or what?

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