Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Winter on the Farm

We had the hardest winter I can remember here with -18 or 20C on several nights.
We lost several Tunnel crops, all the early winter salads and the Celery the main casualties. Outside the Late Sprouts suffered from frost damage and the Purple has given up. Leeks came through OK but we lost about 10% with outer leaves damaged on the rest reducing weight by another 10 to 20%.

The Sheep came through unscathed but ate about a third of our winter hay store in 6 weeks, glad to say they are eating a good deal less now the weather has warmed up. We hpe to have them scanned in Feb with any barren ewes going for Mutton.

The bees have suffered mainly from Woodpecker damage, this can often happen when it is so cold that the bees can't fly and see off the Woodpecker as it raps on the side of the hive. I have plastic frames so once inside they do little physical damage but the colony rarely survives.

I was totting up the ways I've lost winter colonies over the past few years they are:

Varroa & viruses
Poor queen mating previous summer
and Woodpecker damage

Can't wait till next year and see what novel ways we can loose colonies.