Earlier in the month we hired some muck spreaders, they weigh 5t each and can hold 14t of muck and we were towing them with a tractor weighing 7t so all in all that’s a 26 tonne combined weight!!! We spread over 800 tonnes of muck each year which all comes out of the cattle and sheep yards. The muck was spread at about 20t/acre and was ploughed in immediately to reduce the smell and the loss of nitrogen, which can be lost to the air.
We have hired a tractor to help us catch up on the ground works because we are behind with the ploughing, sub soiling and cultivating. It is a 200hp (horsepower) Claas Axion which is more powerful than our biggest tractor which is 180hp. I have enjoyed driving it at the weekends.
This big tractor can pull a subsoiler with 5 legs which go 16 inches (40cm) under the ground, well below ploughing level which is about 8 inches (20cm). The idea of subsoiling is to break up the subsoil so that sugar beet roots can grow through the plough-pan.
The harvest was eventually finished, the wheat and beans were last to be harvested after numerous stops for rain. The yields are down 10-15% from average but prices have improved. During August we were busy baling and carting straw back to the sheds. In total we bale and move 1300 5 foot round bales and 3000 small rectangular ones which will all be used for food and bedding for cattle and sheep during the winter.
We have dressed and treated with fungicide 10t of home grown winter barley and 18t of home grown winter wheat. We have a mobile seed dresser come to the yard where the seed is put through sieves to remove small debris such as stones, chaff and small shrivelled seeds. Then they are blasted with air to remove dust and any remaining chaff, after this they are treated with a liquid fungicide which helps to resist early fungal diseases. We have bought fertiliser for autumn and next spring and we will start drilling the winter wheat and winter barley in late September.
Sugar beet will not be lifted until the local factory at Bury St Edmunds opens on the 12th October, this is unusually late to open. The reason for this is because of the dry spring, opening later will give the sugar beet more time to grow and hopefully we will get better yields.
The shooting started in late September and is going to plan.