August 2020 at Stourton
End of Summer Venison Sale!
We’d like to offer our loyal readers and followers a massive 20% discount on their venison order placed with us before 19th September 2020. This is a great opportunity to stock the freezer up for Autumn with all products having long use by dates well into 2021!
Currently we have the following in stock:
- Haunch steaks
- Rump steaks
- Casserole steaks
- Mince; and much more!
All you need to do is enter the code ‘venison20’ at the checkout! There is a minimum order value of £30 to use the voucher and only one voucher per customer but we will still deliver FREE of charge within a 20 mile radius of LN9 5PB. Don’t miss out!
With the end of summer comes the arrival of ripened blackberries in the hedgerows around the estate. We have found a lovely recipe on the BBC Good Food website for pan-fried venison with blackberry sauce that we are definitely going to try with our delicious haunch steaks.
Virtually Beyond The Woods
We have been so disappointed to have had to cancel so many of our events this year. So at the beginning of the month we were delighted to be able to welcome a couple of the bands who were in the planned line up for the Beyond the Woods festival to record their sets for the virtual festival. On 8th August BBC Radio Lincolnshire broadcast two hours of live and specially recorded sets from Lincolnshire artists, followed by festival highlights from previous years and some DJ sets. On the Tuesday before the broadcast we welcomed Duccbod and Who’s Misty? to the estate to record their sets.
It was a total pleasure and privilege to see and hear them perform (from a safe distance) in the arboretum. We have everything crossed that we can welcome the real life festival back to the estate from Friday 6th – Sunday 8th August 2021.
Start ‘em Young
We like to start ’em young here at Stourton Estates and it’s been a few months now that we’ve had to try to keep the kids occupied so we took the opportunity to train Jamie and three of his friends so that they can make themselves more useful in future! We welcomed instructor Lukas Sokolinski organised through Horncastle Training Group to deliver the LANTRA Tractor training course for 13-15 year olds. We provided two tractors, a couple of trailers, implements for attaching with pick up hitches and three point linkage for them to practice on. The aim of the training is to teach the safe and confident use of a tractor. The fundamentals of safe driving and loading are covered as well as vital Health and Safety information and pre-start and maintenance checks.
By the end of the 2 day course the lads were competent and able to:
- Mount and dismount safely
- Understand the purpose and meaning of the instrumentation
- Understand the function of all controls
- Understand the hazards associated with using controls
- Understand the reasons for daily checks
- Start and stop the engine in a safe manner
- Be competent in driving a tractor in a forward and reverse direction
- Leave the tractor in a safe state
- Competently perform checking of the lubrication, cooling and air intake of the engine
- Perform basic lubrication of the tractor and ensure it is in a safe road-going state
- Attach a mounted implement and manoeuvre in a forward and reverse direction
- Attach a trailed implement and manoeuvre in a forward and reverse direction
- Leave unattached implements in a safe state.
Not only was the day informative and vital from a safety point of view but the boys all had socially distant fun – plus it kept them away from the fridge for a while!
Place your Log orders now for a snuggly winter!
As we are writing this the rain is teaming down and there’s a definite nip in the air…..this can only mean one thing… its time to think about placing your log order for (whisper it) winter!
Our quality kiln dried logs are super dry & graded (to remove dust, sticks etc) before being kiln dried at the farm at Baumber.
We only use hardwood species for our kiln dried logs– mainly oak, ash and sycamore. We never blend with poorer species such as poplar or softwoods.
The firewood logs are sold in builders bags sized at approx 0.7 cubic metres and each log is cut to around 10 inches/25 cm.
One 0.7cubic metre bag costs £80 and we offer great value bulk discounts for delivery of more than one bag of logs. Plus delivery is free within a 20 mile radius of LN9 5PB!
Also we are still taking orders for our great quality landscaping products if you are hoping to prep your gardens or outdoor areas for Autumn. See what we have available here.
2021 Lincolnshire Wolds Outdoor Festival – news!
We are delighted to have been offered that chance to host the official launch of 2021’s Lincolnshire Wolds Outdoor Festival on 1st May 2021. We already have our thinking caps on and are starting to plan this! You will also have the opportunity to shape this festival by taking part in an online survey which is due to take place very soon – we will update you when we have more details.
The Lincolnshire Wolds Outdoor Festival, formerly known as the Wolds Walking festival is going into its 16th year in 2021. Next year the festival’s remit has expanded significantly to offer people of all ages and abilities the chance to take part in a whole range of outdoor activities in this beautiful area of the county with the benefit that most activities in the festival line-up are either discounted, free or are taster sessions.
The festival will run for 5 weeks from the 1st May and we are very excited about some of the activities on offer… more about this nearer the time, for now it’s something to look forward to next spring!
On the Farm
As we reach the end of August we would usually be through a great proportion of our combinable crop harvest. But this is 2020 and as we all know this is anything but an ordinary year!! Since the last blog post we have made very slow progress with harvest, firstly down to green/unripe crops (partially a legacy of late drilled winter crops) which meant we had to stop when the weather was glorious. Secondly, the aforementioned weather has largely been dull, with high humidity and showery/sometimes heavy rain – which has resulted in our combine being at a standstill for a run of 10 straight days during August, it must be a record!
Yields of crops that we have cut are incredibly variable and are considerably down on our 10 year average. That said, given the trials and tribulations of the season we have been pleasantly surprised by some.
Continuing the farmer whingeing about the weather theme… we were devastated recently when the 40-50mph winds blew a considerable quantity of grain out of crops and onto the floor. While this is completely out of our control, it is heart-wrenching to see a years work blown to the floor so close to the point of harvest (some crops losing up to 30%).
After our oilseed rape harvest we have taken the very difficult decision to drop oilseed rape from our rotation for the time being. It has been a very important break crop on our farm for 30 years or so, but not only that, it is has been an important crop for pollinators foraging. The reason we have dropped it is largely down to the large financial outlay required to grow the crop through the winter. As we can no longer guarantee good establishment and keeping the crop free from cabbage stem flea beetle it is too large a risk to take. In place of oilseed rape we will grow some spring oats as well as some winter beans. We felt it was important to include a non-white-strawed flowering crop within our rotation to benefit the pollinators around the estate, and were offered a good contract to grow winter beans.
In difficult times like we are currently experiencing the enormous value of a good team comes to the fore, their hard work in bringing in the harvest so far has been invaluable. Ken is now itching to get some land work done on his challenger, while Dan and Archie are keen to get their teeth into the bulk of harvest as well as any supporting Ken. The next job for Ken is to sow an overwinter cover crop in front of spring barley before getting on with preparing land for our winter wheat and beans. Archie has been busy lately drilling grass mixes for a new stewardship scheme we have entered as well as drilling a grass/clover mix in our 10ha conservation grazing field.
Fingers crossed next month we will have finished our combinable crop harvest and maybe even have completed our first lift of sugar beet with the processing factory usually opening towards the middle of September. Until then, hopefully we enjoy an Indian summer in September!! (Note to self…try not to talk about the weather in the next blog!!)
As the summer months are drawing to a close the deer calves are growing but are no less ‘full of it’, as witnessed by the many visitors we have welcomed on our morning deer feeding experiences.
The other notable change to the deer is that the stags are all starting to lose the velvet from their antlers. Antler growth begins in March- April, as the days start to lengthen. Antlers grow incredibly quickly, at a rate of ¼ inch a day. During their development, the stags antlers are soft and spongy to the touch and so are vulnerable to damage. They are also covered in a grey-to-purple coloured membrane referred to as velvet. The velvet provides a vital blood and nerve supply to the growing antlers. It is really important that the velvet does not become damaged as this can lead to deformed antlers later.
As the days shorten and the stags’ testosterone levels increase, the antlers harden from within and this process ceases the blood supply to the protecting velvet on the outside of the antlers. This causes the velvet to dry off and ‘die’. At this stage, dry velvet can be seen hanging from the stag’s antlers and he is said to be “in tatters”.
The deer remove the dry velvet by rubbing their antlers against trees and bushes and this also helps to form the ‘patina’ of the fully formed hardened antlers. Not only are they beautiful, the antlers have a purpose and that is for defending their territory during the breeding season, known as the rut.
Once the testosterone levels drop, after the rut, usually during winter, the antlers density decreases and the antlers drop off.
We hope that you are staying safe and well. We hope that we can welcome you to the estate soon.
Antony and Helen