Decision Time

06 March 2023

Sitting here, looking at the weather forecast and nervously hoping that it will change to suit us – March is a nerve wracking month. All of the decisions we make on the farm revolve around this month. Lambing has begun, but the decision was made back in October when the Tups went out. Calving is well underway, and the decision was made in June last year when the bulls went out. Should we plant cereals when the ground is dry, but could get cold and wet? These are all normal, seasonal gambles that we have to take. Delay too long and the grass growth won’t match the growth of the growing animals. Delay planting and a dry Spring like last year could have a massive impact on the success of crops. Fortunately, the answer to most of these decisions is – spread the risk. So we have a staggered calving, lambing and planting season, in the hope that we will get some of the timing right.

The benefits of making and spreading compost on crops and grass are well documented, with greater fungal and microbial activity introduced to the soil. We have trialled a few options in the past, but have now taken the leap to composting all of our farmyard manure. With this new operation comes another stage in the learning for us. Learning that the key to good compost is the right mix of carbon and nitrogen with plenty of air. The critical piece of equipment is the thermometer. If the temperature drops too low – the composting process will slow and not sterilise the heap. Too high, and the process will cook itself and kill all of the useful biology. So like baking a cake – we need to learn the oven!

With several visits from people to the estate over recent weeks, it becomes clear that there is a real desire to learn more about what goes on in peoples neighbourhood, land use, food production and nature. We all have a desire to learn something new and so, over the coming months we will be launching courses, events and visits where people can come and learn about their surroundings in more detail.

Back to watching the forecast…..


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