Over the last few weeks we seemed to have had all four seasons rolled into one week at Walgrave, Northants, it will be dry and cold on the Monday/Tuesday, rain heavily on the Wednesday and Thursday with strong winds on the Friday and then mild and dry at the weekend turning cold. But things are slowly drying up and their is a sense of feeling around the farm that spring is just around the corner.
Arable – Even though the ground is still too wet to cultivate, their has been enough of a dry spell to enabled us to get onto the fields with the sprayer. We have switched this year from granular fertiliser to liquid, which is applied with our 3,000 litre Knight 24 metre sprayer to give better accuracy in application and no pesky fertiliser bags which often used to back-log into a mountain of empty bags in the farmyard before disposing them through our Viridor farm waste bin. We have fertilised most of our winter crops with about 80 Ha left to do and also sprayed all of our Oilseed Rape for ‘light leaf spot’ which is a disease that effects the leaves causing white spots to appear resulting in a reduction in its yield potential.
Livestock – as predicted in last months blog, it was Marmite that calved first on the 16th Feb with 828 having a good reason in being slightly later as she had twins on the 2nd March. We haven’t yet had ‘The Scanning Lady’ out yet, but we are fairly sure the two heifers aren’t in calf so we are going to pull them out of the main shed and put them in with some two year old’s before trying again with the bull in the spring. In total we have had 12 calves so far, with a good split of five bull calves and seven heifers (boys & girls), the heifers will be kept back for breading either for our own herd or sold at market as breading stock.
Hay & Haylage – with the continued wet weather, we have been kept busy with deliveries to our loyal customers over the last month and have done deliveries in every county around Northampton. We have also acquired some new customers outside of the traditional equine market, such as Santa Pod race track who ordered 250 wrapped straw bales for an off-road rage buggy circuit at the end of February and a local gardener who has bought some small bales of straw to make raised beds for vegetables.
To-do List – when the ground dry’s up again we will be out spraying the spring ground off using Glyphosate to create a stale seedbed ready for planting at the end of March, this is important as it kills off any weeds that have grown over the winter and leaves a clean seed-bed for the newly planted crop to grow. We will also start to think about grass and chain harrowing the grass fields in preparation for the spring, this helps promote fresh growth and more productive grass growth for our hay and grazing land.