Archive Article: 1997/07/25 - Farmers Weekly

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Archive Article: 1997/07/25

25 July 1997

The summer sheep sales got off to a flying start last Friday at Ingham, Suffolk. Average store lamb price was over £37, marking a £2 rise on last year. Clearance rate for the stores was over 99%, as the 3795-strong offering met a fierce demand. "It was like a rugby scrum getting to the pens to sell stock," said auctioneer Philip Dale of Lacy Scott and Knight. Shearling and breeding ewes also sold better than expected, with Scotch halfbred cross Suffolk shearlings making to £89.

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Archive Article: 1997/07/25

25 July 1997

Stubble turnips are a welcome feed for hungry cows and provide a safeguard against summer grass shortages that usually occur at Firle Estates. Roy Williams dairy manager at Charleston Farm, Firle, West Sussex, admits the need for turnips is reduced because grass growth rates are higher than normal this year. But that was not to be known when sowing seeds in the first week of May. Cows which average 6700 litres – with 3800 litres produced from forage – are strip grazing the turnips for two to three hours a day after the morning milking.

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Archive Article: 1997/07/25

25 July 1997

STOCKING rates are too low on many farms at around 3.6 a ha (1.5 cows/acre). This has been too low and has caused pasture quality problems that will continue into the autumn unless action is taken now, writes Paul Bird.

Laxly-grazed swards will suffer more in a dry period. Short, actively growing grass can tolerate extremes of climate much better than stalky grass.

Changing the size of the grazing areas is the best way to manage fluctuating grass growth. When grass growth is fast reduce the area, when it slows increase the area.

Cleaning off the trash in the bottom of pasture now can be done with either dry cows, replacement stock or the mower.

Growth rates are 60kg to 70kg DM/ha/day at present. This growth can sustain four to five cows a ha consuming 13kg to 15kg DM grazed grass intake.

Producers that have high quality grass, capable of producing 20 litres plus, have been constantly monitoring grass growth by regular farm walks and have adjusted management accordingly. These producers have been maintaining stocking rates of five to six cows a ha (2-2.4 cows/acre). Some have cut back on nitrogen or have continued with nitrogen and made surplus silage.

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Archive Article: 1997/07/25

25 July 1997

ALSO on his fourth attempt to get to the Tractor Driver of the Year final is this years youngest finalist, 26-year-old Tom Reeve of Riding Farm, Walsham Le Willows, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.

"Ive only ever got as far as the Royal Show rounds," explains Mr Reeve of his efforts to join the elite and hold the coveted Tractor Driver of the Year title.

"Its a great feeling to be told youve got this far and Id like to be able to relax and enjoy it, but the pressures on."

Main responsibilities when working with his father Hugh include combining, ploughing and spraying – though as yet, Hugh holds the reigns of the drill.

"Dad still likes to do the drilling – something to do with straight lines," says Tom, who hopes winning the title might open the door to responsibility for drilling the farms 202ha (500ac) of arable land.

As for tractor choice, the farms mixed fleet includes Deere, Ford and Case models, and as such, Tom is adept at changing between the makes.

Asked what makes a top tractor driver, Mr Reeve replies: "Thinking time is essential. Its no good rushing and tearing about with powerful equipment. Youve got to approach your tasks steadily and get the job right first time. And by thinking about what could go wrong, you should be able to deal with the problems as they arise and work your way around them."n

JD6900 is one of three tractor makes Tom Reeve has access to on the familys 202ha Suffolk arable farm.

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Archive Article: 1997/07/25

25 July 1997

HAVING been unsuccessful in the final six years ago, Roger Denton aims to prove that he can still "cut it" when its crunch time.

"Its more of a personal goal than anything else," he says. "Id almost got there in the past and Im sure I can still do it."

Mr Denton is preparing himself for the big day in August and is using his time to brush up on his spraying skills – skills that are seldom used on the familys 161ha (400ac) dairy and beef farm.

At Woodspeen Farm, Stockcross, Newbury, Roger works alongside his brother Andrew and father Graeme. Though responsible for much of the farms machinery maintenance, he is regularly involved in day-to-day tasks with his MF398.

If he is successful, he hopes to be able to counter some of his fathers criticisms, who demands high driving standards from his sons. "Should I win, it would be nice to remind father that hes got the best tractor driver in the country working for him," he muses.

MF398 is home to Roger Denton when

maintaining equipment. Hes looking

hes not in the farm workshop

forward to the Aug 12 final.

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Archive Article: 1997/07/25

25 July 1997

FRIESIAN cows are a favourite subject of artist Jennifer Brereton, and not just because their colour lends itself so nicely to the pen and ink that is her usual medium.

"They have such interesting lines," says Jennifer of Oswestry, Shropshire. "I like drawing all Friesians, not just show cattle."

Jennifer, who trained in Kent and Wolverhampton also works in pastels. She spends most summers drawing portraits (of people) while exhibiting at agricultural shows, where she gains most of her commissions. 90% of her customers are farmers.

Jennifer will visit farms to take her own reference photographs and her work costs from £500 for a large picture, while a head study costs from £50. (01691-656913).

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Archive Article: 1997/07/25

25 July 1997

FINELY detailed animal portraits are the speciality of artist Valerie Sails. Her parents are farmers and it was her love of animals that inspired her to paint.

"I am self taught and have been a professional artist since 1985," says Valerie from Bubwith, N Yorks. "Three years later I decided to concentrate on animal portraits and I find that pastels is the medium that works best for these, producing the detail and depth of colour I aim to achieve."

She works to commission and visits the subject to take photographs and find out the character of the animal. A full scene picture will cost around £1300. A smaller, single portrait, is £250. (01757-289118).

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Archive Article: 1997/07/25

25 July 1997

IS HE man or machine? People looked long and hard at the Kitchener look-alike beside the Essentials Wallcoating (Leeds) stand. Then just as they decided to walk on, mime-artist Colin Thornton would give them a little dig, or pinch a hat and place it on another surprised passer-by before staring impassively into space once more.

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Archive Article: 1997/07/25

25 July 1997

IAN King says he has a beams suitable for every home and demonstrated how good reclaimed wood can look in what must be the smallest showroom on the showground – a caravan.

Ian set up the Aaron Beam Centre at Aaron Hill Farm, Cragg Vale, West Yorks 20 years ago and has found a steady growth in demand for his beams for use in new houses – to add a traditional look – as well as for restoration work in old properties. (01422-834026).

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Archive Article: 1997/07/25

25 July 1997

Peter Wastenage

Peter Wastenage, in partnership with his parents, farms a 121ha (300-acre) farm tenanted from Clinton Devon Estates. He milks 175 cows, rears his own replacements and grows 40ha (100 acres) of maize.

THE weather continues to suit us well, and grass growth is sufficient for the herd to be on a 28-day paddock rotation, with the addition of stubble turnips.

Its the first time for many years that grass has been able to support us throughout the summer. Hopefully well be able to continue this well into the autumn without opening up any silage clamps.

Stubble turnips have to be used because of the quick deterioration in feed value, so thats meant a field of kale originally intended for July being pushed back for grazing later on in the year.

For many years weve calved all the year round, but with revised plans we are striving to cease calving from the end of April through to late autumn. This will release the need for concentrate and silage feeding, in order to support the few fresh calvers during early summer.

This could be achieved by splitting the herd, but I see this as impractical so the stock bull has been turned out with the cows, hopefully to serve some of them earlier. Late summer calvers will then be served a month later than they should be.

Im sure the Hyde Park Countryside Rally was a great success. I would like to thank the organisers for an excellent day; travel organisation and speeches were first class. It was fantastic to see the response of people from all walks of life, lets hope this proves to be constructive.

It was very pleasing to go clear on our recent TB test. Although were on three-year testing in this area, there seem to be more and more herds affected. With the lack of commitment to the eradication of infected badgers it must be very frustrating for those affected.

As insurance against shortage of winter forage, 25 acres of hay has been purchased from a neighbour. Hopefully this will last a few years as haymaking is not listed as one of my favourite hobbies.

My sister has just returned from Seale-Hayne Agricultural College, which has proved very timely as my workman broke his ankle four weeks ago and is likely to be away another four weeks. She is proving useful, helping with the milking etc. Im classing this as back rent for the multitude of horses kept over the years!

Its the first time for many years that Peter Wastenage has had enough summer grass for his cows – theyre now on a paddock rotation of 28-days.

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Archive Article: 1997/07/25

25 July 1997

A GREAT "ah," went up from the crowd as baby Josephine Proctor went round the main ring on a pony led by her mother.

Safe in her wicker baby seat, she looked the picture of contentment as she took part in the British Horse Societys Golden Jubilee parade – a pageant tracing the development of horse and rider from the turn of the century to the present day.

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Archive Article: 1997/07/25

25 July 1997

THE Womens Institute was back at the Great Yorkshire Show after a one year absence.

It was a most welcome return, judging by the crowds in the WI pavilion, where displays celebrated the organisations centenary. Last year, the WI was priced off the showground when the Yorks Agricultural Society raised the rent for the pavilion.

"The rent hike nearly caused us a heart attack," said Jo Kearns, chairman of WIs GYS committee. "We realise that the society has to run the show more as a business but we dont have an income as such and one or two areas were already finding it a strain to fund delegates to come to the show."

However, it was decided that they should look for a compromise and this has been amicably reached.

"We have hung on to the catering, which we needed to do as this is the only thing that brings in money for us and it pays the rent. This year all the cakes are home-made and we are making scones fresh every day here in the pavilion," said Mrs Kearns, who has been a member for 21 years.

Demonstrations of crafts this year were intended to encourage people to have a go themselves at home, as none involved expensive equipment. The basics of salt dough modelling, ribbon-craft, peg rugs, patchwork and beadwork are fairly easy to master.

"I actually made something out of salt dough for the first time this year and entered it into one of competitions. I got 18/20 for the effort – a tree with a bird in it – and I am quite proud of it. When I get that 8th day in the week, I would like to try some more complicated designs," says Mrs Kearns, who feels the WI gives members the opportunity to try all sorts of things and the confidence to pursue them.

"And we have never flinched at discussing important issues. In 1922 we were talking about the prevention of venereal disease – not something we could find a way to demonstrate here," she said as she showed off the exhibits depicting the achievements of the past 100 years, which include the Keep Britain Tidy campaign which was a WI initiative.

A compromise over rent pales to insignificance against such things.

Scones dont come any fresher than these baked in the pavilion by Pauline Hawks (left) and Hazel Johnson from Well and Snape WI.

Jo Kearns (centre) was keen that crafts demonstrated should be simple and inexpensive for people to try at home. Pauline Lawton (left) and Pat Parsons made rag rug making look easy and worthwhile.

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