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Farming diary - Future is looking brighter
Weather forecasters are saying that we are due for a warmer, drier spell.
Certainly, the barograph is showing atmospheric pressure rising and the thermometer that the temperature is also going up.
It’s about time, after the dismal weather. It seems unbelievable the longest day of the year has almost arrived. Now, on Manor and Stowell Farm, the phrase “Make hay while the sun shines” is being put into operation.
It is useful to have small bales of good hay stored up for winter, to feed to calves and cows with upset stomachs that need dry food.
Matt cut grass in a 10-acre paddock. On Stowell Farm, Kevin is about to cut 60 acres of grass, which will be made into large round bales for the sheep.
Richard and I moved the in-calf heifers across the road, to a fresh field of grass. They were easy to move, as they were keen to leave the field they were in.
Richard opened the gate and turned them along the road, about 20 metres on, where I turned them into their fresh pasture.
They quickly had their heads down, munching the new grass. Later in the week, heifer calves were moved into a clean field to graze. Then Matt used the topper to cut all the unpalatable grass, so regrowth would be better.
On Stowell Farm, more settled weather meant that first cut silage making could be completed.
The last 40 acres of grass were cut, rowed up and left to wilt for 24 hours, before being picked up, chopped and lactobacillus bacteria added. It was delivered into trailers, to be taken back to the silage clamp next to the farm buildings.
Two clamps are full and a third started; all rolled to drive out the air and sealed with plastic sheets.
On two sunny occasions, I have strolled through fields and have seen a large variety of insects, many flying among flower heads along field margins and in hedgerows.
The dog roses are particularly beautiful, with a tangle of white and delicate pink blooms.
The winter barley is well in ear, as is the winter wheat. The field of wheat with poor germination earlier is looking as if it will produce a reasonable crop, so we’re glad we did not replant it.
The oilseed rape also looks well; the pods all filling with seeds now the flowers have died back.
There were many plants on the hedge-line, including cranesbill, hogweed, teasels, wild carrots and cleavers, a clinging, sprawling plant known as goosegrass because it is the favourite of geese. Farmers dislike it as it becomes twisted around the reels of the combines at harvest.
Melissa and I also ran a Pony Club mounted map reading on Manor Farm for young riders on ponies.
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