Fifty-five bales of donated fodder were delivered to the hill farmers of south Cumbria who lost thousands of sheep in snow blizzards and are seriously running low on food to give to their stock.
A Househam Sprayer Ltd lorry, which set off at 4am from the town of Leadenham in Lincolnshire, arrived in a lay-by just north of Bootle in Cumbria at 8.30am with the load of haylage and silage which would have been sold into the equestrian market but was held back by a Lincolnshire farmer called Andrew Ward.
Andrew Ward, from Glebe Farm, Leadenham arranged for some haylage from his farm and some hay from John Smith (Withcall, near Louth) to be delivered to the South West Cumbria area, free of charge on a Househams Sprayers lorry (Househams is also a Leadenham, Lincolnshire based company).
Andrew is trying to find fodder that isn’t needed and doesn’t need paying for, to get to weather-affected farmers in other parts of the country, preferably without them having to pay for it or for haulage. Andrew’s had promises of fodder and feed (of various types) from Yorkshire, East Anglia and Kent but needs to find haulage to get it to the worst affected farmers.
Broughton’s NFU group secretary, Esther Pritt, liaised with Andrew to secure some of the fodder. She made sure a proportion of it was set aside for farmers in the upland areas of Broughton, Millom, Eskdale, Wasdale, Langdale and Ulpha. Esther also arranged the drop off point and was responsible for getting word out about Mr Ward’s kind donation.
Five farmers arrived at the lay-by at different points in the morning to pick up some of the haylage and silage, on average taking approximately 12 bales each.
One of the farmers to benefit was Alan Stubbs of Syke Beck Farm. Mr Stubbs lost sheep on the fells to the snow drifts and many others froze to death in the harsh cold.
“We normally get three cuts of silage but last year we only managed one cut so I’ve been buying in feed all winter,” explained Mr Stubbs.
“I only had enough silage to last me through to Christmas resulting in me having to purchase 150 tonnes of feed a month since November, so any help is very welcome.”
Robin Jenkinson of Charlesground Farm on Corney Fell lost 300 sheep to the snow drifts. He added: “We only have 10 days of feed left so this kind donation will come in very useful. We have cows as well as sheep to feed so the situation was looking desperate. We will share out these bales and make sure they go to the people who need them most.”
Ian Ellwood of Welcome Nook Farm on Corney Fell said: “We lost 150 ewes. I’ve three weeks’ worth of feed left and it will be June before we can let the cows back out onto the grass. Acts of kindness like this really lift the spirits.”