Quail

David and I have just set 312 quail eggs in the incubator.  We are hoping to get about a 60% hatch rate and end up with 180 chicks.  Half of these chicks will be males so hopefully we will have roughly 90 laying females in early April. (Counting my chicks before they hatch!)

 Sugarbeet

We finished harvesting the last field of sugarbeet today, we now have about 600t in the clamp waiting to go to the factory.  We reached our quota of 2000t of beet and had to wait for all the other farmers to reach their quotas before we could start sending in our excess.  So far this year, the beet have averaged 18.5% sugar, which is just above our usual average.  The first field of sugarbeet which was harvested in October was ploughed and drilled with wheat in October.  The second field has been ploughed and is going to be sown with spring barley soon.  The final field was harvested today and will be ploughed soon.  The unseasonably dry weather hasn’t affected us yet but if we do not get lots of rain soon we will be short of moisture in the spring. 

New Combine

We have just agreed a 5 year deal to buy a new combine at great expense.  It is a New Holland CX5080, this will enable us to harvest much more quickly allowing us to only need to combine in optimum weather conditions.  The new combine has a 20ft header (6m) this is 3ft (0.9m) longer than our old combine.  The engine is a 258hp 6.7l 6 cylinder diesel common rail engine.  The government have been imposing new emissions targets for agricultural machinery, these have been getting gradually more stringent as to the amount of particulates, carbon-monoxide and nitrogen oxides (which can cause smog and acid rain) engines can release into the atmosphere.  To meet these regulations engines must do one of 2 things, either: A) re-circulate some exhaust gasses back through the engine to burn some of the particulates or B) add a chemical named “AdBlue,” a Urea based chemical which will convert nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide in the emissions into carbon dioxide, nitrogen and water.  This enables lower, safer, less harmful emissions without some of the efficiency losses associated with exhaust gas re-circulation.   Our new combine will have a 110 litre “AdBlue” alongside the 580 litre diesel tank.

Sheep

We pregnancy scanned the main group of 80 ewes who scanned satisfactorily at an average of 1.8 lambs per ewe, due to be born in March. We also have 25 who have just started lambing. The idea of the earlier lambers is to have some larger lambs for showing in the summer.