We have spread muck on 2 fields and ploughed it in to prevent nutrients being lost to the air. We aim to spread muck on each field every 8-10 years. We have also spread lime, which is a waste product from the sugar beet factory, on some fields to help reduce soil acidity. Autumn cultivations are progressing well; we have cultivated most of the fields due to be drilled with winter crops. All the oilseed rape has been drilled and the winter wheat is currently being drilled. The seeds are treated with a fungicide and a seed-borne disease preventative to help them get a good start, however a seed treatment for the oil seed rape has recently been banned meaning we are using an alternative which is not as effective. We are having problems with flea beetles which the previous treatment was effective against. We will lift sugar beet shortly when the ground is wetter so the beet are less likely to get broken during lifting.
Due to the hot, dry end of the summer the supply of grass, which has been good throughout the summer, has dried up. We are now supplementing the cows diet with straw to provide roughage and feed blocks for minerals, protein and energy. The calves are now being fed creep food which we do in the last 6 weeks before weaning so they can get used to solid food before housing in mid October. The cattle trade has improved recently, although unfortunately we have almost finished selling the last of our 2013 born calves. Cattle numbers are at a seasonal low of about 150 head.
We carried out an embryo transfer flush on Kersey Domino, a pedigree British Blue cow, however she only yielded 3 embryos which was disappointing.
We have sold 15 out of the 40 breeding rams which we have for sale this year. The trade is not as good as we would have liked but hopefully they will all be sold by the end of October.
We have recently built a new shed next to our existing grain store. It is designed to be used for short term grain storage as well as for machinery. A common problem for us during harvest is running out of different spaces to store different crops, so hopefully the new shed will alleviate this problem. All that remains is to concrete the floor.