Posted on October 08 2019
Hello, Hope everyone is well, I know it’s been a while since I last wrote a blog, I’m sorry but I have been really busy. Well the weather has been a bit crazy, a few weeks ago I was praying for rain and now I would like it to stop for a bit now as the slugs are all coming out of the hedgerows now, and eating our oilseed rape that’s just coming up. We drilled all of our rape by the 15th of September but unfortunately we’ve had to re drill 90% of our oilseed rape due to the lack of moisture and from the flea beetle, and slugs attacking it. We drilled our second attempt of rape on the 28th of September. We trailed spraying garlic to prevent the flea beetle from eating the rape, as apparently they don’t like the smell. Unfortunately that didn’t work for us and 70% of flea beetle are now resistant to insecticide too, so there’s not really much point in trying and wasting more time and money on spays, its quite disheartening to have to cultivate up the rape ground we’ve spent thousands on seed and sprays. Let alone time and fuel and wear and tear of machinery.
We have re drilled our rape as our agronomist suggested to have another go at trying to grow it, we drilled our rape slightly later this year as people had said the flea beetle should have landed and found their patch to lay eggs on the end of august but that wasn’t the case, so what we’ve drilled even later (for the second time) so far has little or no damage from flea beetle just slugs, we will just need to keep an eye out in the spring for the flea beetle larva as they will eat the seeds in the pods and that will be more disheartening. The trouble is with later drilling with the rape is that the frosts really take it backwards and its not had the best start so far so hoping we don’t get any frosts for a while! Last year we had to put growth regulator on our rape, I certainly don’t think this will be the case this year, no two years are the same!
I just find it so backwards that we import rape that’s able to use the seed dressing but its banned in our country. It really infuriates me.
The image below shows shot holes from the flea beetle.
All of our cover crops for countryside stewardship are in too, we drilled them at the end of July when it kept raining and they’ve grown very well, we have a mix of clover, phacelia and buckwheat, and one field for the water board that is into oil radish.
Below shows a flea beetle I managed to catch to show you the size on my thumbnail.
I took Bill to the first dog show we’ve attended and Bill won best non-sporting breed. I went with a couple of friends that have been to dog shows before so they insisted that I entered Bill. I really enjoyed it actually; Bill loves all of the attention. The photo above I bought off a professional photographer that was at the event and I didn’t even realise she took the photos until my friend said to me about it, so its nice to have some natural photos.
My co pilot (Bill) and I have been trialing telehandlers as we are due to swap out our Manitou as its now 15 years old and feel we want something more advanced to lift more weight and to have a longer boom to reach some of the higher guttering and for limbing up some of our trees.
Two years ago I applied for countryside stewardship, and one of the things I applied for was for a hardcore track to replace our slippery chalk track, we got given the go ahead to do so, so asked Jack (my partner) if we could hire one of their drivers and slew (as they have a 14 tonne slew) to dig out our track and we get the hardcore in for the slew to then track down, the picture below shows the new track, and they skimmed off the bank slightly too, so hoping we will be able to use it and not get stuck this winter.
We finished combining on the 24th of august, the weather made it drag as we had to dry everything apart from the last 80 acres of wheat, and that was a bit of a nightmare as we had to wait till 4pm most days or later to start combining but then had to stop by 8:30/9pm as the dew got in so the moisture of the corn then went up, we cut the rest of the corn wet, and saw the forecast was dry for a while so this was the more cost effective way for us (as we wanted to cut it dry). Our drying facilities aren’t the best, I have to use the small 10 tonne trailer as our wet pit will only hold 10 tonne and its very tight to reverse to the pit. We have a wet bin which holds 50 tonnes and our drier holds 12 tonne so we need to have a trailer outside to catch the dry corn coming from the drier, we do have twelve 50 tonne bins in that store, but we don’t like to fill them if we don’t have to so my job was to haul the corn and dry the corn, so when I went to tip I had to either move or tip the trailer in the flat store and check the moisture of the grain coming out of the drier. It’s not just the extra time and costs from drying but to make matters worse corn prices are right down this year, our spring barley made malting but there’s only a £5 premium for malting this year. Worldwide yields are good this year and everyone wants to get rid of their malting barley before BREXIT as we have no idea what’s going on.
All of the ground has had chicken muck applied to it, and has been cultivated in ready for when it dries up to get on with drilling. Although we aren’t getting too worried yet its just when it dries up I think we are going to have to keep a steady eye out on the crops as there are so many slugs about this year, the slugs are even on our very light ground where we don’t normally have an issue with slugs. I keep applying pellets on the rape ground little and often as the slugs seem to be eating it as quick as it’s growing so far. We will aim to start drilling the rest of the winter cereals in a few weeks depending on the weather.
(I took this at the top of the farm when I was sub soiling)
The lodge seems to be going very well so I’ve been very busy with that too cleaning and washing and ironing, I never really realised how time consuming ironing sheets can be, that’s all I seem to do in my evenings, I do like to try and be organized so its all ready so when I do a changeover I’ve got it all ready so I can do the changeover quickly.
Thank you for taking the time to have a read, if you do have any questions or anything you would like me to cover on another blog please do comment below.