After a damp start to the week, summer has truly arrived, with days of uninterrupted sunshine and rising temperatures.

Here on Manor Farm I recorded a high of nearly 30 C. Our growing cereal crops are now ready for harvest and making sure our grazing animals have adequate shade has been a priority.

The rise in temperature, with very little air movement, has also increased the number of flies worrying the stock. Another job has been to regularly apply fly repellent to the animals.

The earlier wet spell encouraged the grass to have a growth spurt, although at this time of year it tends to go to seed very quickly, encouraged by decreasing day length.

Nevertheless both Kevin and Ian have made some more hay in fields that have not been grazed. The current hot weather, coupled with the light crop of grass meant the time from cutting to baling was quite short.

Kevin made some large round bales whilst Ian made some more small square bales, which can be very useful. Kevin has also spent some time topping as grazed areas can become messy with the flowering of a number of weeds, such as thistles, docks and nettles which many grazing animals will not eat.

Sometimes these weeds are individually sprayed with a herbicide, but topping before fruiting will help prevent spread and looks a great deal neater.

I have recently noticed large swathes of ragwort, especially on roundabouts and verges. The bright yellow flowers are daisy-like and although ragwort provides food for the cinnabar moth, it is an injurious weed and needs controlling.

Ragwort is poisonous, although it will not usually be eaten by grazing animals. However, once it has been cut and made into forage for winter feeding it becomes palatable and will steadily damage the liver of the animals that ingest it.

The cinnabar moth lays its eggs on ragwort plants and the larvae munch their way through the leaves, themselves becoming poisonous to predators. This is indicated by the colour of the larvae , which is orange and black stripes. The adult moth is brightly coloured black and red and has distinctive markings.

I represent Wiltshire 's livestock farmers as a volunteer and as a result of this attend meetings throughout the year to discuss priority issues. One such meeting was held on Warson Farm near Okehampton, Devon.

This farm specialises in producing high quality Aberdeen Angus beef.

Pedigree Angus cattle are produced in a suckler system, which means that the calves remain with their mothers, suckling until they are weaned several months later.

They continue to be finished off grass. We spent a very enjoyable time on the farm, where we were given a tour, a presentation and a delicious lunch consisting of a beef steak pie followed by a rhubarb crumble.

A second visit was as a guest to a South West Dairy Board meeting held on a dairy farm near Tiverton, Devon.

These farm visits make me realise how individual each farm is and the massive task ahead devising an "Environmental Land Management Scheme" to suit everyone.

Manor Farm situated on the side of a major motorway bears hardly any resemblance to the dairy farm we visited in Devon, with much of the land on steep slopes and located along extremely narrow roads / lanes.

There are many other differences but I have to say the views were superb!

To conclude this week I have noticed more butterflies enjoying the warmer, calmer weather, spotting marble whites, speckled woods, meadow browns, tortoiseshells and a variety of whites, just to name a few.

The swallows that nested in my stables have also fledged, with the parents frantically trying to keep control of their unruly offspring.