Pressure on for haymakers

Pressure on for haymakers

A recently-born Angus heifer calf at the farm stays near to her mother

Baling the grass and rowing up with the rake, before Ian loads the wrapped bales onto a trailer

First published in News by

A warm, almost dry week has been eerily silent, due to the breeze coming from a northerly direction, keeping away the roar of the motorway.

The line drawn on the barograph has remained nearly flat, showing reasonably high pressure, and on many farms conserving grass, in some form, has been progressing well.

Richard and I began the week as horse stewards at the Royal Three Counties Show in its picturesque setting below the Malvern Hills.

We were kept very busy most of the time, but did manage to enjoy a stroll around the showground on the Saturday afternoon.

While we were away a day of electrical storms had been forecast,which fortunately did not arrive at the show, but a small amount of rain did manage to fall on our grass mown for hay.

Luckily, Stowell Farm remained dry, but although the weather has been good, the sun has not shone quite enough for haymaking.

Richard and Ian were worried that we may also get another shower of rain, so they decided to make haylage.

A contractor was called to bale the almost dry grass into large square bales, which were then wrapped in polythene to exclude the air, before being taken back to the farm to be stored. The stack was covered with a net to prevent the birds pecking holes in the wrapping, which would allow air in and cause spoilage.

Kevin and Mark have managed to make all their mown grass into hay, as their grass was older and drier when it was cut. By the end of the week their hay had all been made into large round bales, which only needed holding together with a fine net.

When conditions were favourable Kevin managed to spray his wheat and peas with their final fungicide, while here on Manor Farm Ian has applied a light dressing of fertiliser to the field of grass made into haylage.

Richard has done more topping, replaced a leaking fuel filter on a tractor, and also replaced a PTO (power take-off) cover on the feeder wagon.

Here on Manor Farm the last of our older heifers gave birth to an Aberdeen Angus heifer calf. This heifer did not manage to become pregnant at the same time as the rest of the group, but she obviously conceived when the bull was put back with them later on.

This calf is going to Bowood, where it will join the other farm animals. We have also dried off two cows for their annual holiday.

They have been turned out in a field with the bull and will not be milked until they have their calves in August.

The bull is resting at the moment because he is still lame. We are hoping that if he has injured his leg, time will enable it to heal.

Sadly, we had to have a cow euthanased during the week. One of the other cows in the herd had knocked her over in the yard and she was unable to stand. We called our vet, who told us that she had badly injured her hip.

On Stowell Farm a flock of one-year-old ewe lambs (shearlings) were sold for breeding.

The first group of new season lambs had also reached the required weight and grade, so have been sold for meat. Eleven of last year’s ram lambs, born to ewes artificially inseminated, were taken to Ross-on-Wye market for inspection by graders from the Llyen Sheep Society.

I am pleased to be able to report that 10 of the 11 ram lambs were able to be registered for breeding.

During the week I attended a river catchment management workshop on a farm in Draycot Foliat, in the “Marlborough Downs Nature Improvement Area”.

It was an interesting meeting, where we were taken to have a look at the soil structure in three different locations on the farm, seeing first-hand the effect of prolonged flooding and compaction on soil structure.

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