Guest Blog: Emma's Winter Farm Update
Hello, my name is Emma, I’m a twenty-three-year-old farmer’s daughter from Dorset.
After completing my A-Levels at school I knew I wanted to have a job within agriculture, so applied to go onto the level Three diploma course in agriculture at Kingston Maurward College which was a two-year course. The first year was very intense with a lot of coursework, the second year we were able to learn and complete certificates of competence such as PA1, 2, 4, and 6 (these are for application and handling of pesticides). The course also covered veterinary medicine and telehandler certificates. Since leaving college I completed a foundation BASIS course, which went into more depth about crop production than we had learnt at college, which is important as I’m an arable farmer (arable meaning producing crops).
I attend a local young farmers group, where I’ve met friends for life. We go to meetings every week; they can be anything from a farm walk to looking around a local chocolatier and making chocolate. Also, we’ve been on days out such as to the Thatchers cider factory and the Cheltenham open, so we have a good range of activities, both fun and educational. There are 619 young farmers clubs around the country, and you don’t have to be a farmer to be a young farmer. I also have three dogs, Boris (Rottweiler cross), Bella (Dutch Shepherd) and Poppy (Rottweiler), their guard dogs but also very handy for vermin control. I moved in with my boyfriend Jack last May in a house where his family farm, and carry out contracting work, it’s about twenty minutes’ drive from my family farm.
I’ve been working on the family farm full time for two years now, our farm at Bere Regis is 550 acres, 530 arable. We grow feed wheat which is sold to a local poultry farm, where we also get our organic manure, our oats are sold as milling to morning foods, our spring barley is sold for malting which goes into brewing for beer, our oilseed rape is sold to be produced into cooking oil. We also have twenty acres of permanent grass which is located near Chalton Marshall, which sits beside the river Stour, and is twenty minutes from the farm. In November we buy six-month-old Charolais cattle, keep them for a year and a half, and sell them on in February, someone buys them at auction to fatten them up for slaughter. We turn the cattle out in March and bring them back into the shed for the winter as our field next to the river Stour floods throughout the winter months. We own all our equipment on the farm, so do all the work ourselves, having our own machinery allows us to work with the weather; an example of this would be when the corn is dry we can get the combine out and go harvesting.
This usually is a quiet time of year as all the autumn crops are in the ground, and as it’s the colder time of year, there’s less disease, the crops do not need to be sprayed as much. Although with the crops being at a young vulnerable stage, and only growing slowly, inspections of the crops for slug damage are crucial at this stage. Slugs can rather quickly damage a large area if not controlled, this is where my PA4 comes into use for applying slug pellets where required. Over the past couple of weeks we have been building our own grain store, we currently have twelve fifty tonne bins to store grain but was built back in the 60s. They have started to bow and require to be swept out each time their emptied so it’s quite a dangerous and dusty job. We only have old conveyors which load twenty tonne an hour, so to load a lorry it will take an hour and a half, and to load by a telehandler and bucket from the new flat store it will only take twenty minutes.
Once we have completed the grain store, we will be catching up on maintenance on machinery and existing buildings. Last year we refurbished a Ford 4000 tractor, which has been on the farm since new, and my father used to use this tractor on corn cart. I’ve been lucky enough to be invited by our local John Deere dealer (Smarts) to visit the factory in Manheim, Germany in December so I will have to update you on the next blog. Hope you’ve enjoyed reading it, and have a good Christmas! Emma. Instagram:@emmafoot724
Thanks for reading our first guest blog from Emma. She will be writing another blog for us in the new year, giving us an update on what's happening on and around the farm!
In the meantime why not check out our Farming collection!
Or visit Emma's Instagram page here.
Or take a look here to find out more about young farmers clubs.
More guest blogs are coming soon...