EMMA FOOT | SPRING FARM UPDATE
Well its certainly felt a lot more like spring with the unseasonably warm weather, but we’ve definitely had a reminder winter isn’t over yet, its certainly made up for it now as were waiting for it to dry up to get onto the ground, I’m hoping we wont be as late drilling as last year!
Fortunately when the weather was dry we got all of the chicken muck spread and cultivated in just before the rain, ready for the spring barley to be sown. I’ve now stopped hauling muck as we don’t have anywhere to store it, but will continue hauling muck in June ready for the winter crops as I can only have a few loads a week.
A few weeks ago Dad had drilled a 19 acre field as unfortunately the other fields didn’t quite dry out enough, the barley is just coming up now. Luckily we used our home saved seed as grain prices are rather high. Seed spring oats are around £800 a tonne, I think the prices may have gone up due to the prices of oats rocketing this year after harvest, and with failed oil seed rape crops this year due to flea beetle and the drought, so something else needed to be planted in its place, we got £199 a tonne on a few of our loads a few years ago I remember getting £98 a tonne so prices fluctuate so much, but I think if everyone has the same idea to grow oats the prices will probably be back down by next harvest.
I love that the evenings are getting lighter as more can be done in the day and generally feel much more enthusiastic about working and getting on with things later.
We had 5 ewes that lambed down, we had four lots of twins, but unfortunately lost of the twins and one lambed too early, the lamb was born dead, but they all lambed within several hours so we think maybe something may have spooked them as one single was born dead, and was very small and one of the twins that had died was the smallest lamb I’ve ever seen, so think they were born too early, her other lamb was alive but in critical condition as this lamb was very small too, but now he has caught up with the others and doing very well which is good. So out of the 5 ewes we have three lots of twins, and one single. Below is an image of two of our very friendly lambs, I fed them on a bottle for a few weeks as their mother didn’t have much milk, now they come running across when they see me.
Well the 30 hogget’s have now eaten all of the turnips so we sorted them out last week as to which ones are fat enough to go to market, most weighed about 50kg.
We had our spreader tested to ensure its spreading accurately, we took it up to a neighbouring farm to get it tray tested, I was a bit worried id be there half the morning setting it up as this is the first year we are 30m tramlines but the settings worked first time and spread very accurately. The spreader testing is funded by our local water board as they are trying to reduce nitrates getting into Poole harbour.
I put on first dose of nitrogen on the crops. Also we are on a trial with a programme called Contour, which is done through our agronomist at Agrii. Through contour I can view the farm online on a satellite reading which highlights where the crops are thinner or thicker. Our agronomist Todd had suggested that we put our nitrogen on variable rate on the oilseed rape as it was so variable in growth stages. I do all the spreading so was quite looking forward to trying something new. Our agronomist sent over the data for me to put onto a stick to plug into the screen of the spinner. In the oil seed rape the nitrogen varied from being spread at 87 kg/ha to 250kg/ha so very variable. I shall look forward to seeing the results on the crops.
I also spread some Kiesorite onto most of our fields, as of this year we just spread kiesorite and nitrogen on our fields. The kiesorite provides sulphur and magnesium as the crops particularly oil seed rape require higher amounts of sulphur . We originally used to use a mix of fertiliser with sulphur and nitrogen but our agronomist has advised us on a more efficient way of buying and spreading the fertiliser. Especially with spreading variable rate nitrogen on the oilseed rape it makes more sense to spread straight N. Sulphur gold for example is a mixture of nitrogen and sulphur , and this would be a problem as the crops sulphur needs aren’t as variable as nitrogen requirements .
Below is myself and my tractor buddy Bill putting on fertiliser, luckily he’s still small enough to just fit on the seat with me.
We had a new tractor arrive on the farm a John Deere 6130R, to replace a John Deere 6105R(the one on the left is our old one that we part exchanged for the new on the right ) . We wanted a bit more horsepower to pull the new sprayer and a little more power is required with the new dung spreader too.
Jack and I have decided to do up the granny annex next to our house, and it was in rather a rough state so all of our spare time has been spent doing up our project into getting it ready for a holiday let, we are slowly getting there, luckily my dad and Darren (our workman) are pretty good at plumbing so helped fit a new shower for us and also put up new tiles, and my cousin fit our flooring so they’ve helped out a lot, we still have a bit to do, but progressing slowly, were hoping to be finished in the next couple of months, its small but hoping the location will get more people interested .
I hope all’s well and thank you for having a read.