The livestock side of the farm is quiet at this time of the year. Both the new rams have been fertility tested and found to be fertile. They have been used on a few ewes to produce lambs in January. It has been nice to receive a couple of enquiries from people wanting to set up new flocks of Suffolk Sheep who want breeding females. This year’s calves are now being creep fed (concentrates) to get the calves accustomed to eating solid food in preparation for weaning in October. The creep feeders are car sized metal boxes which the calves can walk into and eat from. They are the right size so the calves can get at the food but the mothers can’t. Sometimes as the calves grow they get stuck and can push the creep around! This means that they need weaning.
The barns are full of straw, we use about 1200 5ft bales of straw every year and 3500 small conventional rectangular bales. Harvest is all complete and all crops apart from winter barley produced satisfactory yields. We are looking to invest in a new combine because our current one is 23 years old and has done a great job but it is getting a bit outdated and worn up! We had one on demo which was a 333hp New Holland with a 24ft header but we decided it was too big and (with a list price of £250,000) too expensive!
We drilled Oilseed rape in late August which was a little later than we would have liked due to the fact that there was still straw on some of the fields. It was drilled using a method known as min-till. This means that the minimum is done to the soil before drilling. It is done in one pass, a tractor pulls the piece of kit which will subsoil, cultivate and drill in one pass. This was done by a neighbouring farm. The tractor is equipped with sophisticated GPS (global positioning system) enabling the tractor to cross the field in a perfectly straight line. All the land for autumn cereals has been ploughed. The optimum time for drilling winter cereals is in late September/early October so at the time of writing all the winter barley has been drilled and winter wheat will be drilled by the time of publishing.