Life in the countryside
Some cattle are turned out on pasture that has been rested over winter. After a winter indoors, these animals are often inquisitive and may follow the fence line to watch anything new that appears! Be careful when entering a field with cattle. Main spring calving starts in beef herds.
Lambing is under way on lowland farms. Going into a field with ewes and lambs may cause the lamb to separate from its mother. Avoid disturbing sheep especially heavily pregnant ewes around lambing time by going into a neighbouring field or land next to it. If you can't do this, keep as far from the animals as you can. Do not take a dog into a field with lambs or other animals.
In upland areas where grass is scarce pregnant sheep are hungry by March and will be fed in fields. They watch for the food coming and will follow anyone carrying a bag! Farmers bring food out on quad bikes, land rovers or tractors depending on the feed (grain or hay).
There is a noticeable increase in activity on farmland. Ploughing is under way to prepare the fields for sowing crops. Keep clear of farm tractors and equipment working on the land, for example ploughing fields ready for sowing crops. Some sowing will have already begun with crops that were planted soon after the last harvest now beginning to show. In a field of crops, avoid damaging the crop by using any paths or tracks, the field margin, unsown ground or look for another route.
Fertiliser, farmyard manure and slurry spreading will also be taking place in some areas. You are advised not to go into recently manured fields. Otherwise you increase the risk of exposure to infections and disrupting the farmer's biosecurity measures. Farmyard manure can carry diseases and can damage your health. Avoid going into these fields for several weeks to allow bacteria to break down. Follow any advice or choose an alternative route.
You will come across managed fisheries around Scotland. Fishing seasons for Salmon and Sea Trout (migratory fish) and for Brown Trout have rules to protect the fish at sensitive times. The brown trout season runs from the 15th March to 6th October, inclusive. Fishing for salmon and sea trout can take place from January to December but the exact times may vary around the country as spawning depends on local conditions. There are no closed seasons for coarse fish and rainbow trout, but there may be advisory ones; many fisheries are open seven days a week. Some of the larger waters close in the winter months but as a general rule nearly all fisheries will be open for a minimum of April through to October.
When using field margins to avoid cropped areas be aware that these are wildlife corridors and some may be managed to encourage game birds. Keep dogs on a lead and keep moving to minimise disturbance.
Last updated on Monday 3rd March 2014 at 09:45 AM. Click here to comment on this page