All the drilling has been done except for the game cover which has been prepared, ready for drilling in May. We drill sugar beet with a precision drill which places the seeds individually 20cm (8”) apart with 50cm (20”) between rows. Sugar beet need to be that far apart because they take up a lot of room and need to be spread out evenly in order to grow well. Sugar beet seed is very irregular in shape so we buy it in pelleted form where the seeds are encased in clay to make them all regular so the drill can place them more easily and accurately. We hope for 80,000-100,000 plants per acre (200,000-250,000 plants per hectare)
All the cereals have been sprayed with fungicide, herbicide and growth regulator to shorten the straw and therefore more nutrients are put into the grain resulting in a higher yield and bigger grains.
At the time of writing we need some rain so that all the fertiliser we have spread can be dissolved in the rainwater and absorbed by the plant roots. Also some crops are suffering from lack of moisture and are not developing as we would like.
Calving is very nearly finished with just 4 cows yet to calve. Nearly all the other cows and calves are out at grass. Cattle numbers are at their annual high with just over 200 on the farm. This is because calving is nearly over and we have not yet sold any of last year’s calves. Dad will be turning the bulls out with the cows soon so that they can get back in calf for calving in February and March next year.
Lambing is also very nearly over, we only have 2 to go. The lambs are all looking very well and growing fast. They will be out at grass with their mothers for the next few months.
We are currently preparing for the show season by halter training cattle. We usually start halter training animals after weaning at about 9 months old. We only halter train pedigree animals. To halter train cattle first we tie them up on a halter for about 30 mins a day. After a few days we try to walk them along. British Blues unlike some breeds are very docile and this makes halter training relatively easy even though they are quite big! We hope to be showing both cattle and sheep at the Hadleigh Show on the 15th of May and the Suffolk Show on the 2nd and 3rd of June
The February hatched quail are now in full lay and we are getting over 6 dozen eggs per day, these are available directly from us or via Hollow Trees Farm Shop, we also sell to a local egg wholesaler.