Farming notes 18 July 2010

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At last some steady rain and not heavy downpours that merely run off and don’t soak in. That said, some more would be good as the soil was so dry that the moisture was absorbed right away.

Matt started this week and his presence has already proved incredibly useful as he has quietly got on with much of the stock work that has been bogging Nick and I down!

Arable

The mixture of rain and sunshine was perfect to enable the ground to soften a little to make a seed bed and then allows us to lock in some moisture for root crop establishment. Drilled an area of Kale/Rape hybrid and a bit of Rape/Italian ryegrass mixture to provide winter fattening forage for the lambs.

The most encouraging aspect here was that we’ve trialled different establishment techniques that have not been tried much here. The Kale/Rape has been subsoiled (the field has severe compaction issues from David Wilkie trying to outwinter cattle), then cultivated once with the Lemken Terradisc, rolled to consolidate the seedbed, drilled then rolled again to conserve moisture. The Rape/Ryegrass mix was drilled direct and then rolled.

Previously, these crops would’ve been established using the plough, by using the other methods we will save a considerable amount of money (labour and fuel) and also conserve moisture and help to keep the organic matter and microbial activity intact in the upper part of the soil.

Livestock

Nick and Matt have sorted out all of the surplus cattle. The coloured Shetlands have finally got on top of the two parts of the W9 New Bank. The commercial ‘white’ wool has been loaded up ready for4 collection early next week. Rachael will be collect the Herdwick fleeces next week.

Hare coursing seems to be happening very frequently at present which is causing a lot of wasted time and disruption as gates keep getting left open in the night and a fence has been cut. Finding all of the stock and re-instating the fence obviously costs us a lot of time.  

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