The first field of sugarbeet has been harvested, they have all been loaded onto lorries and taken to the sugarbeet factory. We were very pleased with both the sugar content and yield. All the 2012 sugarbeet land has been sub soiled to allow the sugarbeet to grow long tap roots to find moisture, this was evident early this year when all the cereals were suffering from drought stress and the sugarbeet were coping fine because they had found moisture deep in the ground. When harvested some of the tap roots on the sugar beet this year were up to 1m long! The 2012 sugarbeet land has also been fertilised with a “base fertiliser” of Phosphate, Potash, Magnesium and Sodium. The sodium is part of the mix because sugarbeet were originally maritime crops grown in coastal areas and as a result grow better when salt (Sodium) is present.
Having completed autumn cultivations and drilling we have been doing some building maintenance and have re-concreted the muck clamp where the concrete was breaking up and forming a hole. The autumn drilled cereals have been sprayed with pre-emergent herbicides to prevent weed growth. Some conservation land has been sown with pollen and nectar rich seed mixtures to encourage insects which will in turn encourage wild birds.
The sheep have been split into 5 tupping flocks with one ram per flock. They will stay together for 3 weeks, the gestation period of a sheep is 21 weeks so the sheep should lamb in a period of 3 weeks starting in mid March. We have been experimenting with overseeding on some of the grassland because having been permanent pasture for over 15 years it is looking a bit “tired”, hopefully overseeding will rejuvenate, improve grass varieties, yield and increase clover content.
The recent dry weather has seriously restricted grass growth, making it impossible to turn the cows back out to grass after weaning as we are sometimes able to do. So the cattle have been housed and weaned and are now on winter rations; the cows are being fed straw, malt nuts and mineral and the calves fodder beet, malt nuts and mineral. We will soon be pregnancy scanning the cows using ultrasound.