where is the sun?

The grey skies and lack of sun are beginning to get everyone down, and it is not just the farmers who are feeling this. The harvest is progressing reasonably well, after various breakdowns which seem to occur all too frequently in arable farming, despite the many thousands of pound spent every year on servicing, maintaining and replacing of machines and their many parts. On Thursday it was a pulley, and later that same day a bearing.

Heat and sun is what we need, this muggy greyness is heeding progress and not lifting our rather sluggish spirits. Round baling is Jethro’s current task and he has abandoned the oat straw, until it is drier on account of the damp grassy stalks within swath, and moved onto barley straw. We need around 250 large round bales to see us through the next twelve months.

The weekly despatch of lamb boxes has gone well, despite a few customers forgetting to come, which unfortunately happens from time to time. Collating everyone’s requests to the readiness of the animals is a logistics nightmare, but somehow we get there every week. Next year we will have to lamb the sheep later as we’d like to miss the August holiday period as accommodating holiday dates as well as individual requirements takes up far too much office time.

The seasonal land work which includes any post harvest cultivations, ploughing and drilling is causing a few major headaches this year. The planned rotation of oil seed rape following the wheat crop has been abandoned because the soil conditions, following this terrible wet weather, are not suitable for drilling rape. It is nothing to do with the machines and everything to do with the state of the tilth, or rather the lack of tilth. The clay cap fields are a sliding sticky mess with a lot of compaction following the work by the combine, tractors with trailers carting the corn and also the sewage sludge spreaders.

Prosperous Farm is not the only farm affected and many farmers are openly discussing how best to tackle this. The consensus remains, as it often is, that every year is different and 2008 is no exception.  Here, at least, oats will now be the chosen crop in the rotation following the wheat, as they will be easier to drill.


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Filed under Country Life, food and farming, rural musings

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