December and January are always quiet times for the arable side of the farm. The only jobs are machinery and building maintenance, hedging, fencing and clearing ditches.
If the weather is dry enough in February we will cultivate the fields that have been ploughed and drill spring beans and then spring barley. It is entirely weather dependent but if there is not a dry spell to drill, it will be done in March. When there is a dry spell the game covers of maize and sorghum will be ploughed up.
At the moment it is too wet to harvest sugar beet. But as soon as there is a dry spell we will harvest the remaining field of sugar beet and then plough behind it. Alternatively if there is some frosty weather and we can take the beet to the factory straight away we will harvest them. Sugar beet do not store well in very cold weather so we could not leave them on the concrete pad for any length of time. But if they are fresh and frozen when we take them into the factory they are alright.
We are storing about 700 tons of grain in our grain store while we are waiting for the prices to increase. During the very cold weather we blew lots of air in to the heaps of grain through ventilated ducts in the floor. This is to control insects and fungal activity which struggle to survive in cold conditions.
The new shed was completed just in time for the last of the cattle to be housed before the cold snowy weather.
There are a few more shoots until the end of January which is the end of the shooting season.
I have started catching moles on the farm and if anyone has any moles in their garden I would be happy to come and trap them. Last year I caught 38 between October 2008 and July 2009.
Calving is due to start at the beginning of February they are all housed and looking well.
The sheep are all out at grazing. A small group are due to lamb in the middle of January. The rest will lamb in March.