Spring has finally arrived here on Islay and our flock of black face sheep are due to lamb in mid April. All have been scanned and we are happy with the percentage of those in lamb, fingers crossed for a period of good weather in the next 4-5 weeks to ensure that the lambs get the best possible start. The farmers are checking the sheep daily, keeping a close eye on them for any issues.
Over the last couple of months we have been busy identifying the fields that we will use to grow barley in this year. The fields have all been soil sampled and will be fertilised and limed to ensure that the barley has all the nutrients that it needs to grow the best possible crop.
We will start ploughing in the next few days. Some of the other farms on the island have been busy ploughing but we have a light sandy soil that could blow if we get a dry and windy spell of weather prior to sowing. We will not sow the barley until mid April as the barnacle and white fronted geese will not be leaving the island until then. If we sow too early they will take the seed and leave nothing. This year the barley crop will be mainly Concerto which has a proven track record with us but this year we are going to try about 10 acres of a new variety called Sienna.
The winter this year has not been too bad weather wise and not particularly wet until recently when we had a deluge of rain and the water from the field drains came over the road to the distillery, this does not happen very often and led to some speedy repairs in order that staff and visitors could get to and from the distillery.
All the preperations are in place, all we need now is a little cooperation from the weather....