Peter Walters manages
163ha (402 acres) at
Hatherleigh, Devon, which
is in organic conversion.
The farm is stocked with
100 pedigree Poll Dorsets,
90 Dorset X and 50 Mules.
It also supports 68 suckler
cows including 18 pedigree
ANOTHER month has passed and still no money from the Organic Farming Scheme, hence more phone calls to let them know we are still waiting.
What makes me angry is the funds are available and we are entitled to them. It is awarded to help with conversion with most of the money paid in the first year; our second year started on Jul 31.
I also tried to find out when the remaining 2001 Suckler Cow Premium and Extensification payment would be settled. I was told our claim would not be checked until the end of July, as they have to double check ear tag numbers with the BCMS, which is taking time.
So why didnt they start checking earlier? Being as polite as I could, I asked how he would like his wages paid two months late, with no interest and all the red tape. Needless to say, he would not.
I am very pleased with the silage crop, considering there has been no fertiliser or manure spread on any of the land for two years. Using a Welger RP 200 we have been averaging 16 bales/ha (6.5 bales/acre). On one particular field the yield reached 21 bales/ha (8.5 bales/acre).
Because of the slow tupping at the beginning June, I left rams with Dorset ewes for another week. This has hopefully paid off with another 26 going to the ram.
We were accepted for the National Scrapie Plan and blood tests were taken at the end of July. I had the five rams and 45 ewes tested with each animal receiving a bolused electronic tag.
Fly strike has started to become a problem, so I have used Vetrazin (cyromazine) pour-on, on all sheep and where maggots were found I used spot-on. These methods of control are permitted under organic regulations.
The bird box survey has gone well with 331 blue tits, 76 great tits, 14 nuthatch and five pied flycatcher, young being ringed. The nest sites of the skylark, barn owl, yellow hammer, kingfisher and an abundance of song thrush were also recorded. *
Peter Walters is still wrestling to obtain the organic aid payments he is entitled to, despite being a year into conversion.