Harvest has begun, we have combined about 50 acres of winter barley and have another 50 acres to go. The June rain fell just in time to swell the grains and help the yields. Due to the late rainfall the barley plants had started growing fresh tillers meaning lots of the crop is still very green. To combat this we sprayed the fields with Roundup approximately 2 weeks before they were due to be harvested. Round up has a harvest interval of 2 weeks, meaning the crop cannot be harvested until at least 2 weeks after the spray is applied so no traces of the spray can contaminate the grains. The straw is extremely short, causing the bales to be prone to breaking and making them difficult to roll out in the yards as they can disintegrate!
Whole crop silage
We under sowed a field of barley with grass with the plan of harvesting the barley and then having a field of grass to graze, but due to the unusual weather the grass was nearly as tall as the barley and the barley was nowhere near fit to harvest. So we decided to cut it and make whole crop silage, the field was mown, then baled and finally the bales were wrapped in plastic. The silage is of a higher feed value than normal silage because it has the grain from the barley in it. This will be used to fatten cattle in the winter.
Since our commercial shoot ended we have stopped rearing ducks on the pond on the hills (the grassland next to the village) We have started to make repairs to the dam and the banks of the pond in an attempt to dry out the field below and also to create a natural conservation area. The pond has about 1m deep of duck muck and silt in the bottom, most of which is out of reach of our 360° digger. We may hire a dragline machine in the future to properly clean out the pond but this is very expensive and difficult to do.
Dad has nearly sold out of rams for breeding, he has sold 36 of the 42 available and the prices have been great! In late July he drove up to the borders of Scotland to purchase 1 ram (and came home with 2 because he liked them so much!), they are being fertility tested next week. We will allow a few of the ewes to get in lamb soon so that they lamb in January, the remainder will be put to the rams later and lamb in March as usual. We had great success at the Wayland Show, gaining interbreed champion with a shearling ewe who was also champion Suffolk at the Tendring Show and placed 2nd at Norfolk. Alice also showed a British Blue Heifer, Kersey Domino who won reserve champion British Blue at the Royal Norfolk Show. The photo on the front cover shows our best shearling ewe at home before we went to the Wayland Show. I will put some photos of our livestock at the shows and more on our website www.kerseylivestock.co.uk/sfn