Archive Article: 1998/08/07 - Farmers Weekly

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Archive Article: 1998/08/07

7 August 1998

Dust flies as Consort wheat was combined at Oliver Walstons Thriplow Farms, Cambs, last weekend. The crop was cut at 18% moisture – it was sold forward for delivery this week for £77/t, and yielded 7.5t/ha (3t/acre). That contrasts sharply with spot prices for August which dropped to £60-£62/t this week, on a par with barley. The £ has lost over 5 pfennigs against the Deutschmark in 10 days, but even that could not offset pressure caused by a big French crop and a weaker world market.

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Archive Article: 1998/08/07

7 August 1998


uMORE than £4,500 was raised in a "loose change" collection at the recent Game Fair, held at Stratfield Saye, Hants. The money will be donated by the Country Landowners Association Charitable Trust to the charity Riding for the Disabled.

&#8226 CATTLE slaughtered in August because they are suspected of having brucellosis or tuberculosis will be compensated to a maximum of £555.

uWATER companies spent £406m removing pesticides and £34m removing nitrates from water supplies in the three years to 1997. Parliamentary written answer.

uAN article in last weeks FW suggested Milk Marque had invoked its rule to prevent more than 7% of members leaving without giving more than 12 months notice. Milk Marque has pointed out that it no longer has such a rule. Apologies for any confusion this may have caused.

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Archive Article: 1998/08/07

7 August 1998

At last, fine summer weather swept in to Britain this week allowing decent progress to be made with the harvest. Image oats (left), at nearly 7.5t/ha (3t/acre), could be the best cereal this year, says Richard Loxton of Wyke Farm, near Sherbourne, Dorset. The yield is above average for the farms limestone brash soil and the sample looks promising, he adds. Meanwhile, in Suffolk, combines rolled out recently at &#42 L Butchers Street Farm, near Mildenhall, clearing a 9ha (22 acre) field of Halcyon barley. The crop, next to RAF Mildenhall – used by the US Air Force – came in at 14.5% moisture.

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Archive Article: 1998/08/07

7 August 1998


uCASUAL workers will be entitled to paid holidays at a rate equivalent to the minimum basic wage after 13 weeks continuous employment. This and several other changes are included in the new Agricultural Wages Order to ensure it complies with the Working Time Directive, which deals with paid holiday entitlements. The rule will come into force on Oct 1, 1998.

uAN award package worth £2m has been granted to boost Northern Irelands food processing sector. It will go to 11 applicants representing a wide range of agricultural produce, including fruit and vegetable packers and meat and milk processors. The largest award, for £0.5m, goes to J A McClelland of Ballyclare to help build a new livestock market. &#42

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Archive Article: 1998/08/07

7 August 1998

This Suffolk ram made a new breed record price of 75,000gns at Edinburgh last week. To find out why, see page 37.

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Archive Article: 1998/08/07

7 August 1998


&#8226 BY pricing 484 acres of bare land at Gainsborough, on the Lincs/Notts border, at £700,000 (£1445/acre), Smith-Woolley has had requests for over 120 sets of particulars. A closing date for best and final offers has been set, for the end of August.

The land at Lea Marsh Farm is prone to flooding from the River Trent, but is grazing cattle and growing linseed successfully. Some 105 acres are eligible for arable aid.

Mineral rights are being reserved. Should they be taken up, the land can be sold back to the vendor at an open market or the sale price, whichever is the higher.

&#8226 THE sale of a 161-acre dairy holding at Ipplepen, South Devon, attracted a large attendance.

Homepark Farm needed a new parlour, but attracted no dairying interest at all, according to auctioneers Rendells. It was offered in seven lots, two of which failed to sell, including the two linked bungalows and farm buildings on 58 acres. The remaining lots were all bought by one individual.

Almost 13 acres made £32,500 (£2531/acre), 12 acres made £30,000 (£2500/acre), a dilapidated stone barn with 24 acres £72,000, and 15 acres of pasture and woodland £35,000.


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Archive Article: 1998/08/07

7 August 1998


John Glover

John Glover currently milks

65 cows plus followers on a

40ha (100-acre) county

council holding near

Lutterworth, Leicestershire,

having recently moved from

another 20ha (51-acre)

county council farm

WE are going to say goodbye to Sally next week. Sally has been with us since we started milking in 1990, when she was in her second lactation – she is the only cow left from the first cows that we bought.

She has produced over 70,000kg of milk in nine lactations, but failed to leave any heifers behind. Two years ago we had to take a clay off one of her back feet, but she completed that lactation, calved with another Friesian bull and has given 10,350kg in 360 days. However now she will have to be shot on the farm, as the foot with the missing clay is starting to give her problems. As she is the last of the originals, it seems more than just another cull cow.

Second cut silage was made on July 11 – in-between showers – and again put into an Ag-bag. Although the acreage was four acres smaller, the total yield of grass was greater. As our contractor charges by the trailer load we have a record of silage yield. First cut produced, 0.75 loads/acre – of a 13t trailer -and second cut 1.04 loads/acre, which is about 30% more bulk. As the second cut was wetter than the first, an adjustment for dry matter will be made when the Ag-bags are opened and sampled.

The reason for using Ag-bags was to allow us to empty the silage clamp which we have nearly done and we are now within 12ft of the back wall. The silage is taken out with a shear grab and the face shows the different cuts quite clearly. Of the four cuts exposed at the moment, some have kept better than others.

The two top cuts are rejected by the stock and are being taken off and dumped, while the bottom of the clamp, despite not smelling very sweet, is readily eaten by the youngstock. As we put one cut in the clamp last year and assume two cuts were made the year before, the bottom of the clamp may have been made in 1995, so the silage fed to the young stock could be three years-old.

One advantage of the Ag-bag will be that the different cuts of silage are stored separately and can be used in rotation, so that the forage is always relatively fresh. &#42

Kevin Daniel

Kevin Daniel has a mixed

lowland holding near

Launceston, Cornwall. The

65ha (160 acres) farm and

20ha (50 acres) of rented

ground supports 70

Simmental cross suckler

cows, 380 Border Leicester

cross Suffolk ewes and 28ha

(70 acres) arable

AS always the weather dictates the work schedule, and although I may have pencilled in winter barley harvest for the last week in July, it looks like it will be August before harvest begins.

Julys weather has continued in the same manner as June – with no more than two or three days dry in a row. Traditional hay makers in the area will either have to bale and wrap grass or leave the fields uncut, and hope for a settled spell in August.

Grass has grown rapidly in the damp humid conditions, which also proved ideal for septoria and fusarium in the wheat and blowfly strike in the sheep. With lambs still covered by a June application of Vetrazin, all ewes have now received a dose of Crovect, which should give cover until the whole flock is dipped in September. Fly cover is extremely important during the autumn, as flystrike here in September and October can be as bad as mid-summer.

With all silage aftermaths back into the grazing area stocking rates have nearly halved since spring, to give a current stocking rate of 1700kg/ha. Second cut aftermaths and grazing pasture all received 100kg/acre of 25:0:16 fertiliser in mid-July.

Although current fertiliser recommendations for grazing ground suggest no need for any potash, we always see a good response to applications, probably because potash on our light soil is not easily retained.

A final outing with the fertiliser spinner over the whole grassland area is planned for September to ensure adequate grazing for the autumn period – 40 units of straight N will bring the seasons total to 280 units/acre.

Fertiliser is the biggest variable cost on the farm, so a reduction in price this year has been more than welcome. With prices at their lowest for several years, I have gambled and taken delivery of 23t of British nitrogen for next season, at £87/t for December payment. Time will tell if this was a wise decision.

After a second clear test in July, the TB restrictions – placed on the farm in March – have been lifted. We have been fortunate that the effect on the business has been minor. Some farms in the area have been restricted for 12-18 months.

The 20 store cattle destined for the store ring in May have grown well during the summer, with heifers now in the 400-500kg weight bracket, and will be sold finished off grass this autumn. Steers are 450-550kg and are under retention as we have claimed the first premium; they will be sold in the store ring in the autumn, along with their blue CIDs. &#42

John Martin

John Martin farms in

partnership with his parents

on the Ards Peninsula 15

miles south of Belfast. The

65ha (160-acre) Gordonall

farm and 16ha (40 acres) of

rented land carry 400 Suffolk

x Cheviot ewes, a small flock

of Suffolks and 40 spring

calving sucklers. About 20ha

(50 acres) of barley is grown

for feed and for sale

AT the risk of starting to sound repetitive Ill summarise the recent climatic idiosyncrasies – most days were wet and windy, with the others windy and wet!

I left the farm behind for two weeks in July as my casual farm worker – wife – and I flew to the USA with another farming couple. It was a welcome break from things agricultural, but we did occasionally stop to look at crops and a machinery dealers, to avoid withdrawal symptoms.

We did, however, gather that smaller family farms in the US are under similar pressures to our own, with fewer young people entering the industry. It appears that larger farming companies and multinational food businesses are squeezing people out and forcing them to look for alternative employment. About the only livestock we saw on our travels were humpback and minke whales off cape cod, and it was a rather ironic similarity to our cows and calves when I returned home.

Heavy rain has kept grass growing, but pasture has become poached in places with shelter and around magnesium licks. Cattle do seem reasonably content despite the unseasonable weather and calves seem to be growing well. Unfortun-ately our stock bull went lame, but a pedicure and course of penicillin appear to have done the trick.

The first 50 early lambing ewes are now hopefully settled in lamb, with rams joining the other 120 at the start of August. Like most other sheep producers we will be attending ram sales looking for replacement terminal sires.

The last spring lamb stragglers were sold on July 22 just as the price started falling back to £2/kg in the markets. It is hard to tell whether they will rise again in the short term, but lambs will have to be sold as they finish to prevent price penalties for becoming overfat. All lambs received a cobalt drench with their last worm dose as this is a deficient area and causes them to stop thriving.

Our second cut silage making, around July 22-25, was fraught with difficulties following prolonged showers which caused lodging in cereal crops – to the delight of local crow and pigeon populations.

We cut about 25 acres and started picking up the following day. Our pleasure at the sunny conditions was short lived when an inch of rain stopped play for 48 hours. Although wetter than first cut, grass quality was good and some surplus was big baled to fill our forage requirement. &#42

Louis Baugh

Louis Baugh and his wife

farm 186ha (460 acres) at

Neatishead Hall and 91ha

(225 acres) at Beech Farm

near Norwich in Norfolk.

About 100 autumn calving

Holstein Friesian cows and

followers are grazed on

Broads ESA marshes with

forage from Italian ryegrass

and maize

WE completed winter barley harvest on Friday and started potato harvest on Monday, with our Parish Farm Open Day in between on Sunday.

July started with the Royal Norfolk Show. Holstein Friesian numbers were high in number and quality. The Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association deserves praise for meeting the exhibitors request for having an overseas judge, David Chalack from Calgary.

Fortunately, Dr Chalack was free the weekend before the show and was invited to give a demonstration on showmanship, stock judging and reason giving to the Norfolk HFS YMA. Eighty youngsters and adults enjoyed an informative day, kindly hosted by John Temple and his team at Chalk Farm, Wighton.

The show went well; everyone was pleased with the judging, including non-dairying farmers standing at the ringside listening to Dr Chalacks reasons, which were given eloquently at the end of each class – a skill we need to improve in the UK.

Enough of the show, other than to add that we took a pleasing first prize with a Startmore Supreme heifer, going one better than the second she took at our winter fair, in a class of 16.

Some months ago I wrote about the public perception of farming and our plan to hold an open day. We took a risk and organised it for late July, hoping it would not clash with harvest – feeling it would have more of an impact with calves on the ground and arable crops close to harvest.

A helpful advice pack, provided by the supporters of The Parish Farm Open Day scheme, the RNAA and our local Eastern Daily Press newspaper, proved most useful.

Three hundred invitations were circulated with the parish magazine, and we had 80 people arrive on Sunday afternoon for two hours. Everything was based in the yard, with no tractor and trailer tours. Display boards covering the cow year and the basics of crop husbandry, were split with milking and calf feeding demonstrations, followed by tea and a young handlers display.

All our staff took part, everyone enjoyed themselves, and visitors had a wide age range – from toddlers to octogenarians. We took pleasure from the parishioners thanks for our efforts and will repeat the day again in the future. &#42

John Glover is sorry that the last of his original cows, bought in 1990, has to go. She has produced over 70,000kg of milk for him in nine lactations.

TB restrictions placed on the farm in March have been lifted after a second clear test, says Kevin Daniel.

John Martins cattle seem content despite unseasonable weather, and calves are still growing well.

Louis Baugh had a good trip to the Royal Norfolk Show and was impressed by the overseas judge for Holstein Friesian classes.

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Archive Article: 1998/08/07

7 August 1998

Out of the frying pan and into the fuel tank: Newton Rigg College lecturer Allan Watson is running this unmodified MF135 (apart from the paint job) on waste chip pan oil provided by the college kitchens. Bio-diesel, he says, can be made simply and cheaply from most forms of vegetable oil – and using the kitchens waste oil is an excellent way of highlighting their potential to students. A stalwart flag waver for the promotion of environmentally friendly bio-diesel, Mr Watson continues to campaign for its universal adoption.

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