THE week's weather has once again been quite a mix, with cloud cover, sunshine and some rain. However, during the last 24 hours, 18 mm of rain fell over just a few hours. The day ended with some glorious sunshine, although rather windy.

The recent damp conditions arrived in time for our freshly planted grass seeds. Richard managed to drill a 25-acre field whilst the ground was dry. The rain that followed has enabled good germination and there is an obvious green hue across the field. The grass seeds sown were a mixture of Sikem, an Italian Ryegrass and Perun Festuloleum, which is a cross between Italian ryegrass and Meadow Fescue. These two grasses will produce a short-term pasture. Sikem starts growth very early in the spring, which maximises the opportunity for a high-quality forage from first cut. It also stands well, has good disease resistance and winter hardiness. Perun Festuloleum has the quality traits from the Italian ryegrass combined with deeper roots, helping it to maintain good quality well into summer. It also has good disease resistance and is very tolerant of more extreme temperatures.

When conditions are favourable cultivating of cereal stubble grounds continues and hedge-cutting has begun in earnest with the arrival of September 1. Hedge-cutting used to be allowed from August 1, which allowed us time to trim the hedges inside fields before any cultivations or autumn planting had occurred, so now we are much more dependent on favourable weather.

Last year Richard was able to spend more time trimming the hedges, some of which had become very tall and thin in the bottom. Having been cut well back they have produced more low shoots and after a recent trim look a great deal better.

Harry's winter oilseed rape (OSR), planted in the last week of August, has germinated and, looking across the three fields, are showing well in the rows.Winter oilseed rape is planted early to give the plants more time to become well established before winter sets in. Unfortunately, by doing this, the young plants are vulnerable to a number of pests, especially slugs and flea beetles.

However, there is currently a temporary EU ban on the use of three key neonicotinoids previously used to control pests in some crops, one of which is oilseed rape.

This means that less farmers are able to successfully grow oilseed rape, which in many arable farming rotations provides a very useful break crop, as it belongs to the cabbage family.

Harry has planted two varieties of OSR, Nikita and Elgar, which are both high-yielding, with strong disease resistance, but management of the crop will require particular vigilance, so far the young plants look well, with only minimal evidence of pest damage.

On Stowell Farm Kevin, having managed to harvest all his winter wheat, has now delivered it to a local storage facility and the combine has been given a thorough clean, before being put under cover ready for use next year.

On a walk round our farm one sunny day during the week, I was fortunate to see lots of wildlife. There were plenty of birds including blue tits, gold finches and grey wagtails and swallows preparing for their six-week flight to Africa. There were a number of butterflies, especially the speckled wood, which overwinters as pupae or larvae. Two roe deer were grazing next to the wood and looking down I saw a large black slug making its way across the grass.