Action before weather changes

Action before weather changes

Another beautiful sunset over Manor Farm

Two of the dry cows enjoying their holiday in the long grass

The baler follows the combine, harvesting the first field of winter wheat

First published in News by

Instructing a group of young children at Pony Club Mini Camp took up most of my week.

Fortunately, the weather was kind and dark clouds passed by without releasing their contents. The line on the barograph has been slowly falling, so we could see a change soon.

On Manor Farm, we are still waiting to harvest our winter wheat.

Richard and Ian, after testing grain for moisture, decided to take the combine to one of the fields, but only managed to do about a third before the rain began to fall.

Then there was a mad dash to cover the grain trailer with a tarpaulin. The contractor we called followed the combine and managed to bale most of the straw before it got wet.

Moving slurry and manure to stubble grounds has been the main job undertaken during the last week. Matt has been emptying the large slurry store near the dairy unit, while Ian has been removing slurry from a store where the young cattle and dry cows spend the winter.

Following this, Matt has been spreading the solid manure over the fields.

The rotavator has also been working in some of the stubble fields, preparing for the planting of next year's crops. Unfortunately, all these operations have had interruptions.

Following the tyre problem with the slurry tanker, Richard has had to replace a worn bearing on the muck spreader; not a pleasant job!

Then the rotavator developed an oil leak, which needed attention, and the handle on a door of one of the tractors had to be repaired.

Apart from milking, a great deal of time is spent checking and feeding our yearling heifers, in-calf heifers and dry cows scattered in grass fields around the farm.

Early on a beautiful sunny morning at the beginning of the week, I accompanied Richard to check the in-calf heifers and dry cows for any health or injury problems.

We were pleased that they were all fine, looking very happy grazing in the tall grass. We are, however, sad that during the week a cow sustained an injury, which resulted in her having to be be put to sleep.

Our Aberdeen Angus bull is also no longer with us. After many veterinary examinations and various treatments, he never seemed to have proper mobility in one back leg, resulting in visible muscle wastage.

After consultation with our vet, the decision was made that he would have to go. He was a really good-looking bull and we were sorry to see him go, but both Richard and Ian said the farm would be safer without him, as his temperament was not great.

A few repair jobs have also been done for the benefit of the cows. The ball valve on a water trough has been repaired, as has one of the cow brushes. David, our nutritionist called in to check that the rations for the different groups of cattle were still providing the right levels of nutrients. He also helped to provide us with the expected monthly milk supply forecast for the next 12 months.

This is for our milk buyer, who will then know the approximate volume of milk to expect each day.

While our grandson, Dominic, was staying with us we went to pick blackberries, which we then made into the most delicious blackberry jelly. Jellies are the children’s favourite type of jam, as there are, to quote the children, “no bits in them!”

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