The Farm Gate

A Busy Period!

What a difference a drop of rain makes!

Our spring wheat was eventually planted after cultivating many times to dry the seedbed sufficiently to carry heavy machinery without causing problems to the soil structure. This planting was at least a month later than normal target dates so the crop has a lot of growing to do in a short space of time!

Suffice to say, with plenty of seedbed moisture and a warm soil the wheat germinated exceptionally quickly and is not looking at all bad at the moment.

In the meantime, much arable work has been going on ensuring fertility levels and applications are correct for the growing crops and the leaves are kept healthy and free from fungal diseases which damage the foliage and inhibit the ability of anything to grow well.

The winter wheat and barley crops are all out in ear with the barley looking incredibly advanced in growth. Hopefully we can keep the crop standing but that depends greatly on the rain and wind experienced on our exposed slopes. Scarily, mid-July might see the combine harvester working here!

May was a very hectic month both on the farm and in the wider community. A Rogation Sunday service with teas was held here on a beautiful sunny day, followed quickly by a Village Ball, a Safari Supper and the Church Spring Fair. Phew, it’s good to take a breather!

Erstwhile farmer has been majoring on office work recently complying with legislative annual returns, providing a consultative report to DEFRA on the future of agriculture apart from mundane recording and accounting procedures. There is a complete raft of reports yet to be completed for upcoming farm assurance requirements, but ‘hey ho’ it all has to be done!

Spring coming into summer is always a demanding time with sheep management chores. The young lambs have been weaned away from their mothers and are now fending for themselves. Hopefully recent rains will stimulate grass growth which has been seriously lagging behind the needs of the livestock.

The ewes have been sorted, cleaned up, had their hooves pared and put in pristine shape and condition just like any good chiropodist will do to any feet! Fly repellent has been applied to keep maggot fly problems at bay during the hot and humid weather. A fly strike and subsequent maggot problem can, at worst, kill a badly infected ewe or lamb and definitely leads to poor condition and a check in growth.

The pre-harvest check list is growing daily. One job that needs prioritising involves repairing a damaged access and loading area for grain lorries close to the storage barns.

This has been the season of exams for our eldest grandson but it only seems a short while ago we were involved with our own children doing the same. Incredibly, he has just passed his tractor driving test so watch out Grandpa!






























Highlands Farm, Brightwell-cum-Sotwell, Wallingford, Oxfordshire, OX10 0QX

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