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Emma Foot | Harvest 2020

Emma Foot Farmer | Harvest 2020 September

Well harvest went well for us this year, Jacks got 90 acres left to cut of spring linseed, so hopefully he will get that done this week. Jacks has also started maize, and everyone wants their 3rd cut done so they are very busy at the moment. I have offered to help if they get really really busy as we are now getting quite busy ourselves.   

I went down to sandbanks for lunch a few weeks back to celebrate finishing harvest (its about a 30 minute drive from the farm) I went with my Dad and his partner as we were up together with everything so enjoyed amazing food and views, this picture below shows the stunning views in the hotel in Sandbanks right next to the chain ferry that’s linked to Studland. I feel its important to have some out time sometimes, I feel I appreciate things more and feel refreshed having some relaxation.

 Fish & Chips by the sea

I know I’ve said before that we don’t have any overwintered stubble on the farm, but last week I drilled and rolled in our cover crops; this year we have a mix of oil radish and phacelia for the water board and phacelia, clover, and buckwheat in our fields for mid tier stewardship. Usually we broadcast on the seed and disc it in with our 6m Horsch discs but decided this year to direct drill straight into the stubble with our Horsch pronto (pictured)

 Horsch harvest machine

Rightly or wrongly we decided to put in 60 acres of oilseed rape, after last years disaster I wasn’t so keen but Dad thought we best try as they forecast a lot of rain- which we did get last year. Last year was rather dry, and flea beetle love the dry weather so everyone had a particularly bad year.  We drilled our oil seed rape almost 3 weeks ago and it’s growing but the slugs are about (if its not one thing its something else) so I had to apply some pellets to the rape, there’s still time for flea beetle to arrive and annihilate the crop like last year but I suppose time will tell and ill keep you updated as to how its getting on. As you can probably tell I don’t have much hope at the moment but this is one of the few times I would like to be proven wrong.

Now that we no longer have any cattle (we used to keep them at our river field till October), we hadn’t been down to the river field for a few months as we sold the grass to a local farmer. We’ve had quite a bit of rain so the river was up, and a few trees were caught up in the fence so I cut the wire and brought on the wood to dry out for the log burner, the river was too high for my wellingtons so I had to take them off before they got submerged. Luckily we brought the chainsaw for the intention of finding wood caught up (as we usually do) a tree had fallen on the track so we cleared that before getting to our field. The field access is terrible anyway down there, Dad said years ago the cattle lorries would fit down there but as the years have gone on people have planted hedges then put a fence outside then a hedge, and so on, gaining more and more land so is quite tight now even with our truck.  Luckily the farmer next door bought the grass off of us (his fields join ours so he hauled through his fields), as there’s no way a tractor can get down that lane now unfortunately.

 Emma Foot farming

Times are still very odd, I suppose I live in a bubble really, I feel lucky I suppose that I don’t miss going out as I never really did so there isn’t really much change for me. Last weekend was supposed to be Dorchester show (our local agricultural show) which I do enjoy attending, its nice to catch up with people you haven’t seen since last years show, and in the evening there’s normally a drinks gathering which is good fun as everyone is there, and sometimes is followed by a night out in the town.  It’s normally a good laugh with young and older farmers all just mixing.  Traffic seems worse than ever in Dorset, so its a bit of a pain when I’m doing roadwork, make sure I pull in where I can. I suppose we are a bit more protected being arable as we can hold our corn until we get a better price, whereas you cant store milk. Unfortunately after the panic buying stopped farmers that that produced for coffee shops for example no longer had a market, not like  you can turn a cow off so a lot of milk was being poured away.

One of our friends produces goat milk to hotels, so unfortunately his was being wasted for a short time until he found a local pet shop wanted some of his goat milk to sell in their shop for dogs, which they still deal with now. He and his partner are in the process of creating a bottling plant to sell direct to customers. I’ve seen a lot of dairy farmers doing well out their vending machines which is great to see. I do hope you are keeping safe and well


Thank you for taking the time to read,

Emma x

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