During the last few months we have been selling lots of animals. Dad is currently taking about 4 cattle a week to Colchester market. The buyers are mostly local butchers or meat wholesalers so our delicious Kersey beef could be in a restaurant, pub or butchers near you! The cattle weigh 500-600 kg live weight and our average price is about 180p per kilo. We have also been selling the 40 pedigree Suffolk shearling rams to commercial buyers. Over a season a ram could father up to 100 lambs. We have been selling them for between £400-£600 and rams should work for about 5 years. Dad will soon start sorting out groups of ewes for breeding which will be put with our Suffolk stock rams to produce lambs in March.
It has been an average harvest because it was so dry. However the fair weather and fact that the combine did not have any major breakdowns enabled us to complete the harvest very quickly. Last year was a very wet harvest; we didn’t harvest anything at below 16% moisture. But this year we did not harvest anything above 15% moisture. Wheat and barley need to be stored below 15% moisture.
The cultivation has been done for all the crops that are going to be drilled this autumn. We have ploughed nearly all the fields except where the previous crop was spring barley. We cut the stubble short and baled the straw so there was no need to plough; we just cultivated it to get a good seedbed. We also sub-soiled the fields where sugar beet are going to be grown, to break up the pan which is a hard layer of soil below ploughing level. This will encourage the sugar beet to grow deep roots. We have not started drilling wheat and barley yet because it is very dry but we will have to start in the next week even if it does not rain. We have 70 acres of sugar beet and 10 acres of fodder beet but we have not started lifting these yet because the ground is too hard!
Partridge shooting has started and the pheasant season starts in October.
I have been helping to lay concrete during the summer holidays. We have been concreting the new shed floor in sections and have nearly finished the floor of the shed but we still need to concrete the front and a bay by the side.