All the drilling on the farm was completed into very dry seedbeds before the weather broke. The two inches of rain which fell on 13 October has prevented us from drilling any of the land which we contract farm. Hopefully the ground will be dry enough to drill in the next week or so. The rain has helped with the germination of those fields which were drilled. The first sugar beet have been lifted with very good yields, this is partly due to the sugar beet being grown on land which has not grown sugar beet for many years. We lifted 900 tonnes which has all been taken to the factory in Bury St. Edmunds and we have another 3 fields to lift. We also lifted 50 tonnes of fodder beet to be fed to the cattle when they are housed for winter.
Our flock of 110 Pedigree Suffolk ewes has been split into 5 tupping flocks, each with a different ram. Dad spends some time selecting which rams ewes should run with to try to put together the best traits to breed top quality stock and to ensure the ewes are not related to the rams that they are mated with. Tupping is going well so we hope for a compact lambing in March.
The initially dry autumn has turned wet but mild which means there is sufficient grass for the cattle to stay out until the end of October. We recently purchased a new pedigree British Blue bull called ‘Ridge Dean Dictator’, he was a stock bull for one of the top herds in the country which has recently dispersed. He is only the 3rd bull we’ve bought in the last 30 years; usually we use AI to introduce new genetics. We hope he will be a very useful addition to our herd because he has lots of the qualities which we are looking for and he is unrelated to all of our pedigree cows. We have had 4 pedigree heifer calves born lately, all from embryos which were implanted in January. One of these is from an embryo which we bought from another herd. The other 3 are from embryos from our own cow.
Having recently gone to Bristol University, I have handed my share of the quail egg business to my younger sister Josie. They have just had a hatch of around 110 quail chicks which are doing very well.