Another newsletter which is going to begin with a complaint about the weather. On Monday I ran out of dry boilersuits and discovered my wellies and the spares had developed cracks. Today we worked through breakfast to get the lambs crutched ( wool trimmed from the rear end ) before another wave of rain descended, and now I have no excuse not to tackle the newsletter as it is still inclement outside.
However there have been snatches of summer during which our neighbours did some combining. The resulting straw was baled and carted and we now have a barn full of different sizes and shapes of wheat and barley straw to see us through winter when the stock will need bedding indoors. Our muck heap has been carted onto these fields in return then spread and ploughed in within the stipulated 24 hours.
Our elder son who is now a city dweller had a week's holiday at a convenient time for straw carting. He tried out the time lapse option on his phone whilst stacking a trailer with conventional sized bales using the flat eight loader.
Watch the video by clicking here!
The stacked trailer is then roped up and with apologies to local traffic, towed back to the farm where another flat 8 loader is used to take the bales off the trailer and stack them in the barn. Repeat this process till the field is cleared, usually under time pressure from impending rain.
Converting a shed which was used to house sheep last winter, we now have a grain store and have been able to take advantage of the traditionally low cereal prices at harvest as those arable farmers with insufficient storage space themselves need to shift their crop.
This is what £33,000 looks like in barley should any of you be speculators in futures options who inflate the price for those who actually want to use the crop.
We have finally got 21 young stock away from home on the rented land round the Abberton reservoir. It is a bit un-nerving having them out of sight even though they are checked regularly. A working electric fence is a necessity in order that we will still find them in the field we left them in. We had a new portable electric fencer which Phil incorporated into an all-in-one fencing and water tank unit.
On a hot day it also serves as a dog cooler.
The whole field boundary had fenceposts put round with a strand of barbed wire on the top and electric fence running parallel underneath. Despite walking round several times to check the connections and strimming so no vegetation was touching the wire, the current when tested was never as strong as it should have been and certainly wouldn't have registered on a cows inquisitive nose. Eventually, Phil posted the problem on The Farming Forum and the advice was to have the barbed wire and the electric wire further apart and not always parallel - further trudging round the boundary making these alterations resulted in the desired meter reading.
I had to check the cattle on Sunday which is usually Phil's job, but he was hay turning in an attempt to bale before more rain threatened. Having discovered where they were in the rather overgrown grass and weed mix I was quite impressed how he had got them trained to stand in formation when taking roll call. Even then I took several attempts to confirm there were 21 heads present.
In a continuing attempt to reduce the average age of the people working on the farm ( currently 65.75 from the 4 of us regularly turning up in the mornings) we have a neighbour's 16 year old Grandson for two weeks work experience prior to starting a course in agriculture at Writtle. We haven't put him off yet even though he has spent several hours either soaked from working in the rain or wet due to pressure washing - a common activity on a pig farm as the sheds are cleaned out between batches.
Other farm activity in the last month has included finally mending a water leak - the camera lies as it doesn't show how blue the air is around the hole. Anyone just turning up with a camera thinking 'potential newsletter item' was not welcome.
Plus having a trench dug to bury the dirty water pipe which connects up the tank holding the dirty water to the irrigator.
Hopefully by the next newsletter we will have got all the hay in and the grain store will have some doors.