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Emma foot, lady farmer in a tractor with new rescue pup

Well we’ve now finished harvest, yields were surprisingly good considering, as we thought with all the dry weather the grains would all be pinched and give much lower yields. The spring barley was down on the yield but it went in so late and didn’t have much moisture to soak in after we had all that rain trying to get it in. We’ve had ours tested and the nitrogen was a bit high, but luckily it can still be sold for malting (at the premium price). Our spring barley is higher in nitrogen this year as it was put in late and didn’t have time to take up the nitrogen soon enough. A higher starch level is required rather than protein (nitrogen).


By finishing harvest early it doesn’t mean all the work is completed and we can relax; we’ve all been getting on with ground work ready for the following crops. A few years ago we bought some discs to go over all of the ground once its been cut to scratch the surface to get volunteers and weeds to germinate (particularly blackgrass) this will be done several times in the fields going into oats as grass weeds are very hard to control in oats.


We’ve spread some fibrophos which is basically ash (from a power station) its P and K mix, this is a cheaper way of doing it rather than buying in granular and as the ground is dry it makes sense to do it now. As we sold all of our straw this year we had a lot of off take so nutrients were low, extra was required to get soil indices to around 2-3.  Below is the spreader machine we hired to spread the fibrophos.

Spreader machine and tractor on farm field


This is our first year on the mid tier stewardship and as part of the scheme we had to have a over wintered crop to hold the nitrogen, dad broadcast on the seed with our slug pelleter and I then disced and rolled it in. Its just starting to come up now but slugs have already damaged a few large patches in the fields, I would have thought there would have been less slugs about this year with the dry spell and baling all the straw rather than chopping it,but seems they’ll survive most conditions!


Before heavy rain was forecast we put some stubble turnips in as hoping to buy some more store lambs again this year to fatten. Below is dad loading the muck spreader up. We spread chicken muck onto every field before its drilled to give it the best start. Each Tuesday I collect around 100 tonne from the local poultry farm and bring back for us to spread on the farm.


Muck spreader on farmland


Well the grain prices are still quite high, we sold some malting barley at £210 a tonne, which seems crazy, they have gone down a bit now. I must say its stock farmers I do have a lot of sympathy for with the high straw and feed prices. 


The rape is now all drilled and rolled so were now praying for some rain, I’ve put out a few slug traps in the fields of rape to see if there are any out there, depending on how many will determine how many pellets will be required. We had to drill our rape with 30m tramlines rather than 24m as were swapping out our 24m for a 30m, last autumn we upgraded from a 4m to a 6m drill so we wanted to go to 30m this year so when sowing it will be easier too by drilling two widths of the new drill, then it drills a tramline, we also went wider to help with compaction on the soils.


Below is an image of the oilseed rape just coming up, as you can see its very small in comparison to my hand. The oilseed rape was drilled at 2kg/ha so quite a low seed rate so fingers crossed they all establish!


oilseed rape comparison to ladies hand


Every other day I go down to the river and take down a couple of bales of hay and check the fences, I also had to treat the cattle for flies as they had terrible trouble with them around their eyes.


Dad sprayed a pre emergence on the oil seed rape (before it was up), which is to control BLW (broad leaved weeds).   These particular fields have had a lot of cleavers in the past, cleavers are the same shape as rape seed and we will have  deductions on the price by having too much ad mix when selling the oilseed rape, also when we go to harvest it, it will dampen the crop and become more of a challenge to cut,  and when it goes into store it’ll heat up at if it isn’t controlled quick enough will spoil all of the oilseed rape.  The rape is now just coming up and is being attacked by flea beetle, if this isn’t controlled it could wipe out the whole crop. A seed dressing was available a few years ago to stop the flea beetles from attacking, but its now been banned so have to go over with a spray now.


Also I have a new addition to the family- I’ve always wanted to rescue a dog and I was on a waiting list for a smaller dog to join me in the cab and on farm everyday, I received a phone call and a puppy came along so I went to see him and fell in love. At first he was quite nervous but he’s defiantly come out of his shell with me now.


female farmer in tractor cab with farm dog


I hope you are all well and thank you so much for taking the time to have a read.

If anyone has any comments please leave a comment and ill get back to you

Em x


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