Acton: Mild spring benefits lambs at Acton Hall farm

Arable farmer Stephen Cobbald with his young lambs at Acton Hall. Arable farmer Stephen Cobbald with his young lambs at Acton Hall.

Monday, April 14, 2014
7:00 AM

The picture at Acton Hall farm in west Suffolk this spring is of lambs frolicking in the fields.

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But it was only a year ago when 30 to 35 lambs at the farm, in Acton, were lost due to pneumonia because of the cold weather.

Farmer Stephen Cobbald said this year they had about 500 lambs whereas last spring about 400 survived.

The lambs are born towards the end of February to the beginning of March.

Mr Cobbald said: “It’s been a lot better this year. They have lambed and gone straight out onto grass. Last year they lambed and went out and froze and we had to get them all back in again and keep them in for about a month.”

Last spring Mr Cobbald, who has been a farmer for more than 40 years, resorted to using infra-red heating to keep his flock warm.

On the lost lambs, he said: “It’s part of farm life. There’s an old country saying that says ‘nature always pays her debts’.

“I had a rotten year last year and I have had a very good one this year. As with most things in farming, it’s a mistake to look at one year in isolation. You really have to look at things over a period of time.”

Mr Cobbald urged people to shop local; he said his sheep are sold and slaughtered locally.

“When you work hard and lamb them and look after them and everything it’s always a little bit sad to see them go. But that’s life and that’s the way we carry on as sheep farmers. That’s what keeps us in business.”

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