Well Dad managed to drill 25 acres of spring barley on the 7th of February, with those few drying and very windy days at the beginning of the month the light ground had really dried up. Its just starting to creep though now- I was a bit worried it would rot in the ground, rooks have been on the field quite a bit so I put out a few scarecrows but they soon blew down with these strong winds so resorted to the loud bird scarer, which Bill and Poppy are terrified of.
At the beginning of the month I attended two meetings hosted by our agronomists company (Agrii). One meeting showed a different method of establishment of which we use (it showed oilseed rape drilled with a direct drill. This particular machine was a Weaving GD. The farm that we visited have contractors in; they cut their previous crop (winter wheat) about a foot high, so the aim of cutting it high was to trick the flea beetle into thinking there is no oilseed rape there. When the oilseed rape was drilled with the direct drill disturbing minimal soil thus leaving the stubble standing tall and upright. Unfortunately we lost all of our oilseed rape crops this year due to flea beetle so we will be trying this method of establishment.
The second meeting I actually attended with Jack in Salisbury (Jack had to get his passport out ha-ha). The meeting was very informative; it followed on from different drilling techniques and cover cropping. There were fertiliser companies there too; they both explained the different types of nitrogen fertilisers and their benefits. One point stuck out to me that is going to an effect on farming. Basically within a few years each operation and input that goes into producing a tonne of barley for example would need its carbon foot print calculated so that then as an example a bottle of beer would have the total amount of carbon used to create the beer written on the bottle or packaging. (Hopefully this will be good for British farming as it should help promote and educate the consumer on why buying local and seasonal produce is better environmentally and economically) Although a lot more paperwork!
A week ago I started hauling chicken muck to spread on the ground before the spring barley goes in. The forecast still doesn’t look too promising; it looks very unsettled for the next couple of weeks anyway. Ideally I would have applied some fertiliser by now, as the winter barley looks very starved of nitrogen, its really starting to look a very light green rather than a lovely deep dark green. We were supposed to have our spreader tray tested (to make sure its spreading accurately) last week but unfortunately it had to be cancelled due to weather conditions so will have that to do first before applying some on our fields. Luckily I hadn’t put on any fertiliser as with all these storms blowing through it would have washed all the nitrogen away. The springs have come up again in some of our fields- they last came up on the 23rd of December. Unfortunately this also means its floods underground in the corn store too so we have to keep on top of getting the water out with a submersible pump. A lorry was due to collect a load of oilseed this week but Dad had to cancel them coming , as of the springs being up underground where the elevators are to load lorries from the bins, hopefully next week it will dry up.
Washing off the trailer after hauling chicken muck (I do this each week to preserve the trailer for longer as the Nitrogen in the muck will eat away the paint)
We sold all of our remaining cattle at the candle mass at Frome market, this year we decided that we wouldn’t get anymore cattle in as we are loosing money on them, so once the cattle had gone we took out all the gates and posts and troughs and then started breaking up the concrete feed passage in the cattle shed with the concrete breaker to bring the shed all down to the same level so we can use it to its full potential.
Before we started breaking up the concrete:
Breaking up the concrete with the concrete breaker:
The end result (we are going to leave it like this for now)
Thank you for your time in reading, I hope you’ve enjoyed the read; please do comment if there is anything you would like me to cover on my next blog.
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