The Boys have been Busy!

09 August 2021

Harvest got underway this year on 24th July with Winter Barley, the earliest harvest since 2005. Partly spurred on by the dry March and April, then heat in July. Results were disappointing with low yield and poor quality, but again reminding us that resilience in what we produce is ever more important to compensate for extremes in weather patterns as climate change is inevitable.

The crops harvested have been baled and fields already cultivated and sown with herbal grass leys as 2021 is our last year of conventional cropping. All remaining land will enter the organic conversion phase after this harvest, and we will complete the plan which begun in 2016. The entire in-hand farm will be organically farmed with increasing regenerative practices being introduced.

Since we set out on the journey to farm in a more natural way, we have learned so much (mostly re-learned what we should have known) from a diverse and sometimes unconventional knowledge transfer base. Many hours of podcasts, dozens of books, farm visits, discussion groups, training sessions and most importantly – listening to what the land and livestock are telling us. With much still to learn and many mistakes yet to be made, we are looking forward to the challenges which the “new normal” way of managing land has in store.

Our Lincoln Red breeding bulls have completed their working season and are now back enjoying some “lad time” in the bull paddock where they spend as much time flexing muscles to impress one another as sleeping. When they went out to work in May, they were carrying a little extra weight, but have “toned” up somewhat from work and fingers crossed the cows are in calf.

In April when Jasper the roaming boar arrived here to join the sows, a diary entry was made to remind us of the earliest farrowing date possible – 3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days to the day – the first litter was born, followed by the second a day later – like clockwork. Smaller litters than last time (5 and 7) it is possibly due to the sows needing more nutrition before they go back to the boar.

We have been resurrecting an old grain store which will be used to manage the many organic crops we grow. With smaller quantities and more diversity, the ability to store correctly and long term is essential. Many of these stores have been replaced by large on-floor storage sheds, where operators are safe in the forklift, loading lorries without conveyors or dust. So the challenge is to ensure safety and efficiency in system designed for a time when the workforce was 15 times larger and Health and Safety were just words.

Share this