What beautiful summer days we have been enjoying; I have loved seeing the crops gradually ripen and the verges change.
Gone are the Ox-eye Daises but there are lots of red campions and a cluster or two of white, as well as clover and nettles. Many nests are now empty with the young fledged. The hedges, however, are still very noisy early mornings! Hedge sparrows, blackbirds, various finches, robins, wagtails and house martins sitting on the telephone wires contemplating their long flight home.
Fine Foods: Mid-July took me to Weymouth for the Dorset Seafood Festival; 2 days of celebration of the sea and those who work in the Industry. Fishermen, sailors, Royal Navy, yachtsmen and women. The Charity supported is the Mission to Seamen who do immense work supporting the families of those in the fishing industry. It was buzzing with crowds of people, local and holidaymakers; great stallholders and fantastic weather. More events for Fine Foods will start on 3 August at Dorset Food & Arts Festival, Dorchester with Nunney Street Fair on the same day. August also takes us to the Gillingham & Shaftesbury Agricultural Show, Melplash Show, Corsley Show & Nourish at Bovey Tracy.
Tours: July has been busy with Tours. Look out for our Harvest Tours (on our website) the dates of which will be uploaded shortly. An opportunity to see our NEW Claas Combine Harvester at close quarters …. A huge piece of kit that needs to work very hard over the next 8-10 weeks.
On the Farm: By the time you read this many of the fields will have been cut and baled and some even cultivated, as we have adopted a minimum tillage method on the farm. Growing crops is a waiting game but in late July and throughout August it comes to fruition, however, Andy never gets excited about the yield until it has been over the Weighbridge and is in the shed! Andy will be on the Combine cutting Winter Barley, Oilseed Rape, Winter Wheat and Spring Oats, followed close behind by Shaun with the baler. Andy’s boys will be hauling and so the lanes will be busy with farm traffic throughout the harvest period. Haymaking is now complete, having had the perfect dry spell but around 2 weeks later than last year. The Wild Flower Meadow is still in flower. There have been many poppies in the crops this year, not so much here but down near the coast. Stunning but also a poignant reminder of 101 years ago! The Rape will be cut before the end of July. The sun has done a great job and so we have not had to manually dessicate the crop. The moisture content of the seed needs to be less than 9% at cutting. The Wheat is finished and ripening and will be combined around 15/16 August. Spring Oats will be cut at the end of August. The Maize is also doing very well and will grow another 2 to 3 feet before it’s harvested in early October. All our Maize is grown for a local Farmer for cattle fodder.
In the Yard: The storage sheds are being cleaned and prepared to receive the new grain. We continue to mix Soda-Wheat for cattle feed and most of our harvest goes into animal feed in one form or another. The Yard is rarely still with the grain lorries queuing for the weighbridge, tipping and being re-loaded. Straw and Livestock also arrive regularly.