Giles Henry rents 105ha
(260 acres) on a 10-year
lease and 114ha (280
acres) of heather moorland
near Selkirk, in the Scottish
Borders, which is in organic
conversion. Cropping is
mainly grass with 14ha (36
acres) of spring barley. The
farm is stocked with 450
breeding ewes, 85 hoggs
and 50 Luing cows with
followers and finishers
A WEEK into July and it appears that summer may pass us by. It is understandable that very few people now make hay. If they dont have a silage pit, then wrapped bales are now the norm.
I wonder at times if the expense that silage baling occurs can be recouped, but I suppose if the only option is poor hay then the cost is probably something that is not a high priority.
I decided back in June, when we should have been on first cut silage and the ground was waterlogged, to wait and make one big cut in July. Certainly the crop has bulked up well and even though grass will be past its best, the amount of clover in the sward should hopefully make for pretty reasonable quality.
This silage sward is in its second year and 40% red clover was included in the three-year mixture. I imagined that the clover content would tail off, but I think it is the ryegrass which is dying out so I am considering oversowing some ryegrass into the silage aftermath.
Clover swards in most grazing fields are looking well, although a lot of grazing potential will have been lost through poaching and grass is actually fairly slow growing with all the rain weve had.
We have just ploughed a 2.4ha (6 acre) block of our steepest land and will sow it with forage rape in the next few days. The locals tell me that this part of the field hasnt been ploughed for at least 50 years. It is actually beautiful red soil, which should grow a good crop. It is probably some of the best soil on the farm, just a shame it is at more than 45í.
Our two stock bulls went out to their respective cows on Jul 1 and are already getting on with their work. Cows and calves are looking well in their summer coats, with calves probably looking as well as we have had them. They certainly have not suffered from the wet, another good reason for keeping a hardy native breed. *
Giles Henry has put bulls in with the cows and with cows looking in excellent condition he hopes they will quickly get their job done.